Skip to main content

Full text of "Dominican monastic search"

See other formats

VOLUME 18, 1999 
TOPICAL INDEX 1980-1999 






■ ; .' 




iii . 

1 ' '.'''! !-ll :!ii!M 



jlR' 1 

. ■ • : f ■ 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2012 with funding from 
CARLI: Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in 



cnoPASCfc seARcl^ 

Topical Index 1980-1999 

Volume 18 



Volume 18 

DOMINICAN MONASTIC SEARCH is published by the Conference of the Nuns of the Order 
of Preachers of the United States of America. The Conference is an organization of independent 
monasteries whose purpose is to foster the monastic contemplative life of the nuns in the spirit of 
Saint Dominic. 

Sr. Catherine Mary, O.P. (Newark) 


Sr. Mary Dominic, O.P. (Elmira), Coordinator 

Sr. Susan Early, O.P. (North Guilford) Sr. Mary of the Savior, O.P. (Farmington Hills) 

Sr. Mary Catharine, O.P. (Summit) 

DOMINICAN MONASTIC SEARCH is a spiritual and theological review written by the nuns. 
Its purpose is to foster the Dominican monastic contemplative life by the sharing of insights gained 
from study and prayer. It is published once a year as a service to the nuns. It is also available to 
the wider Dominican Family and others upon request. A donation of $8.00 to aid in the cost of 
printing would be appreciated, when possible. 

Dominican Monastic Search welcomes all its readers to contribute articles for publication. 
We ask that manuscripts be prepared with concern for literary and intellectual quality. Appropriate 
subjects for DMS include scripture, theology, philosophy, spirituality, Dominican life, and the liberal 
arts insofar as they contribute to our Dominican vocation. Serious poetry reflective of these 
categories may also be submitted, though only a small amount can be used. A theme for each 
issue of DMS is usually announced in advance, but is not intended to limit the scope of articles. 
Before submitting a manuscript, please refer to the page of guidelines at the end of the most recent 
issue of Dominican Monastic Search. 

Articles for publication should be sent to Sister Mary Dominic, O.P., Monastery of Mary the 
Queen, 1310 W. Church St., Elmira, NY 14905-1998. 

Donations and additions/changes for the mailing list should be sent to Sister Mary Catharine, 
O.P., Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary, 543 Springfield Ave, Summit, NJ 07901-4498. Make 
checks payable to Conference of Dominican Nuns . 


All Rights Reserved 

35 15 


-cbaC ^cbey^ 

&wcxu you ?z\ies owly 

desa s 

3N. 17*3 



Editorial 1 


Come to the Father: A Kaleidoscope-View of the Father 
in the New Testament 

Sr. Mary of the Sacred Heart, O.P. (West Springfield) 3 

See What Love the Father Has! 

Sr. Mary of the Sacred Heart, O.P. (Marbury) 28 

A Vespers Homily for the First Sunday of Advent (A) 

Sr. Mary of the Savior, O.P. (Farmington Hills) . 35 

Time and the Timeless Doctor 

Sr. Mary Regina, O.P. (Lufkin) 38 

Do Not Be Afraid: Facing the Millennium with Trust 

Sr. Mary of the Eucharist, O.P. (West Springfield) 44 

An Exploration of Fr. George Tavard's Trina Deitas 

Sr. Mary of the Savior, O.P. (Farmington Hills) 48 

Jesus Is Lord: A Jubilee Reflection 

Sr. Mary Rose Dominic, O.P. (Summit) .58 


Lectio with a Fresco [Noli Me Tangere, Fra Angelico] 

Sr. Marie Dominic, O.P. (Farmington Hills) 62 

St. Catherine and Holy Discretion 

Sr. Mary Joseph, O.P. (Farmington Hills) 73 

Commentary on the Constitutions 

of the Nuns of the Order of Preachers: Part Two 

Sr. Marie Ancilla, O.P. (Lourdes, France) 

Tr. by Sr. Mary Thomas, O.P. (Buffalo) 85 


The Red Hat by Ralph Mclnerny 

Sr. Mary Thomas, O.P. (Buffalo) 127 

Loving the Church: Spiritual Exercises Preached in the Presence of 
Pope Jdhn Paul II by Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, O.P. 

Sr. Mary Thomas, O.P. (Buffalo) 129 



Sr. Mary of Jesus, O.P. (Bronx) 84 

INDEX OF TOPICS (1980-1999) 

Sr. Susan Early, O.P. (North Guilford) 131 

List of Member Monasteries .....:... 147 

Guidelines for Contributors 149 


Cover Design: 

Sr. Corde Maria, O.P. (North Guilford) 


Calligraphy by Sr. Mary Michael, O.P. (North Guilford) 

Page 37, 47 and 83: 

Woodcuts by Sr. Mary Grace, O.P. (Washington, DC) 

Page 63: 

Noli Me Tangere, Fresco by Fra Angelico 

Page 126: Patronage of Mary (Anonymous). 

From the Book Con Dibujos 2 (Madrid: Fray Carmelo Preciado, O.P, 1994), 

a non-copyrighted collection of Dominican art. 



Each year as I send out the January letter in preparation for the year's Dominican 
Monastic Search, I always do so wondering what the Holy Spirit will accomplish with the 
few seeds the letter sows. This year the harvest has been a hundredfold. 

Appropriately for this last edition of the waning millennium, there are reflections on 
the year's theme of God the Father, on the essence of time, on what it means to look back 
and to look forward, on God himself in his serene unity and glory. 

As we pray again before a special picture, Fra Angelico's fresco depicting Jesus' 
revelation of himself to Mary Magdalen on Easter morning, can we not see it as an 
image of our hopes that all of humankind will meet the Risen Christ, so that his creation 
will flourish with a new vigor of holiness? This can come to pass if all Christians will 
"keep salt in their hearts" through holy discretion, as St. Catherine would have us do. 
And our poet phrases it in more haunting words: Whom do you anoint? 

Part Two of the Commentary on the Nun's Constitutions, treating of common Life, 
the vows and regular observance, gives us thought as we prepare for the Conference's 
General Assembly 2000 theme of "Dwelling in the inmost life of God," which will explore 
the theological foundation of our life of regular observance. 

Sr Susan Early, O.P. has kept her promise to provide a Topic Index, complementing 
the Author Index which appeared in 1 998. She says there is the possibility that a Poetry 
Index may follow. 

This may be the current Editorial Staff's final issue of their tenure. I am sure that 
I can speak for all of us in expressing gratitude to each of you who has given of her 
talents in writing articles, or who has taken the time to read and reflect on them. For me 
the experience of working with my three generous colleagues has been superlatively 
enriching, a sharing of gifts and of friendship, of common life across the boundaries of our 
individual communities. May Dominican Monastic Search continue to mediate a like 
experience to all of our readers. 

Sr. Mary Dominic, O.P. 

Elmira, NY 



A Kaleidoscope-View of the Father in the New Testament 

Sr. Mary of the Sacred Heart, OP. 
West Springfield, MA 

This article will offer a kind of kaleidoscope-view of the Father as glimpsed in the New 
Testament. The view is ever beautiful, ever moving, showing different aspects of the same 
subject. Each of the evangelists portrays the Father from a certain viewpoint. Each has 
something special to convey about the Father. 

In an endeavor to capture what each evangelist had to say in regard to God the Father, 
I went to Strong's Concordance and jotted down all the passages in the New Testament 
referring to God the Father. Next I typed out all those passages using the Jerusalem bible 
translation. Then I used highlighters to indicate the various pronouns, articles or phrases 
connected with the word Father. All this resulted in quite a kaleidoscope of color. It was quite 
fascinating to see the different colors for each evangelist. 

I used blue for "the Father." It is the mysterious color. Pink was used for "my Father." 
It conveys a blood relationship, and Jesus is the true and only-begotten Son of the Father. 
Green was used for "your Father." Being children of God is the hope to which we are called. 
Yellow was used for "heavenly Father" or "Father in heaven." See that sunshine up in the 
heavens! And finally purple was used for "our Father." No special significance for that color; 
it just happened to be about the only option I had left. To indicate direct address (i.e., "Father") 
I drew a box around the word or combination of words in the appropriate color. 

As far as the quantity of times that the word "Father" was used in reference to God the 
Father, St. John the evangelist won the prize. He had the term "Father" one hundred and 
twenty nine times, more than all the other evangelists put together. St. Mark used it only four 
times. St. Matthew and St. Paul each used the word "Fathef more than forty times. St. Luke 
speaks of the Father fourteen times and that number does not include any mention of father in 
the parable of the prodigal son. St. James and St. Peter used "Father" three times and St. Jude 
once. The author of the letter to the Hebrews used the term once, although he quotes two Old 
Testament passages, which contain the word. However, in those instances the word was used 
in reference to God not speaking thus to angels. 

Now that you have the colors and pieces of our kaleidoscope-study of the "Father," we 
will begin to take a glimpse at some of them. 

St. Mark and the Father 

St. Mark uses the word "Father" very conservatively in his gospel. However, he is the 
only evangelist who tells us that Jesus prayed to the Father saying: "Abba, (Father).!" (Mk. 
14:36). 1 We know that the term "Abba" is one of endearment such as a child might say: 
"Daddy." Jesus calls upon his "Abba" in Gethsemane, asking him to remove the cup. But 

Jesus concludes his prayer saying: "But let it be as you, not I, would have it" (Mk. 14:36). The 
theme which St. Mark emphasizes in his gospel is the journey up to Jerusalem, where Jesus 
will suffer and die. It is the place where our redemption will be effected. Death is not the end 
of the journey but leads to resurrection. 

St. Mark first makes mention of the Father halfway through his gospel in chapter eight. 
"For if anyone in this adulterous and sinful generation is ashamed of me and of my words, the 
Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his father with the holy 
angels" (Mk. 8:38). 2 In this verse Jesus, the Son of Man, is also the Son of the Father. Jesus 
is well aware of who his Father is. He knows that he is the Son of the Father and what he is 
about. He has a mission culminating in Jerusalem but he will come again in glory. 

St. Mark's third mention of the Father touches on the Father's omniscience. "But as for 
that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son; no one but the 
Father" (Mk. 13:32). 3 

The other time St. Mark uses "Father" is in reference to us. "And when you stand in 
prayer, forgive whatever you have against anybody, so that your Father in heaven 4 may forgive 
your failings too" (Mk. 1 1 :25-26). This verse follows an instruction on prayer regarding asking 
and believing that you have received what was asked for. St. Mark does not give us the Lord's 
Prayer as do Matthew and Luke. What is striking is the instruction to forgive. The "your" is 
plural and "standing" is the posture taken when the Our Father is prayed at Mass. So if the 
Lord's injunction is carried out in prayer, we and the disciples would pray: "Our Father in 
heaven, ... forgive us... as we forgive." 

If we look closely at the other passages quoted above and their context, we can see 
other elements of the Our Father. For example, the passage about the Son of Man coming in 
the glory of his Father is preceded by the passage: "whoever loses his life for my sake and the 
gospel's will save it" (Mk. 8:35). 5 It is likewise followed by: "There are some standing here who 
will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power" (Mk. 9:1). 6 
Again we see the posture of prayer, which is used for the Our Father, i.e., standing. In this 
kaleidoscopic view we can also glimpse a prayer that the kingdom come. 

As for the Father's will being done, Jesus is our model and shows us how to make that 
prayer. Calling upon "Abba" he prays: "not what I will, but what thou wilt" (Mk. 14:36). 7 In verse 
38 Jesus instructs the disciples to "pray that you may not enter into temptation" (Mk. 14:38). 8 

So if we were to compile the Lord's prayer as suggested by St. Mark, putting together 
these various kaleidoscopic views, it might read thus: "Abba," Our Father in heaven, your 
kingdom come, your will be done, give us what we ask you for, forgive us as we forgive and let 
us not enter into temptation. 

St. Matthew and the Father 

St. Matthew's gospel (the one carried by St. Dominic) was quite fascinating when it was 
color coded. It seemed to come in three sections. The Father was first mentioned in chapter 
five. The section from chapter five to chapter 1 0:29 was all yellow and green with only one pink. 
In other words it made mention primarily of " your Father in h&aven" and " your heavenly Father " 
with the one exception of " my Father 9 in heaven." The second section was primarily in pink and 

yellow with two blues in the same verse and one green. In other words the emphasis was on 
" my Father " and " my Father in heaven." " Your Father in heaven" was only mentioned once 
in this section. It was like flipping the coin over. "The Father" appeared twice only and for the 
first time in St. Matthew's gospel. The third and final section was in pink and blue with a single 
touch of yellow and that verse linked the second and third sections together. "You have only 
one Father , 10 and he is in heaven" (Mt. 23:9). A kaleidoscopic sandwich follows with "the 
Father" beginning and ending the section. In between we have " my Father " and two of those 
are*direct-address, " my Father ." 

Some scholars hold that St. Matthew wrote his gospel after St. Mark wrote his. Whereas 
St. Mark mentioned your Father in heaven only once, St. Matthew can't say it enough. 
Interestingly enough the first verse in which he speaks of the Father reads thus: "...your light 
must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to 
your Father in heaven" (Mt. 5:15). I can't help but think of St. Dominic, who is called "Light of 
the Church." He certainly let his light shine for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. 
Another interesting coincidence is the fact of a star being associated with St. Dominic and stars 
are in the heavens. St. Paul writes to the Philippians: "You will shine in the world like bright 
stars because you are offering it the word of life" (Phil. 2:15-16). 

Getting back to the main topic of the Father in St. Matthew, as we look at verse 5:16, 
where St. Matthew first makes mention of the Father it seems that his readers or listeners 
already know that God is their Father in heaven. And in his next mention of Father he explains 
how "you will be sons of your Father in heaven" (Mt. 5:45). "Love your enemies and pray for 
those who persecute yo." (Mt. 5:44). And a few verses later he says: "You must therefore be 
perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt. 5:48). We might get an insight into what St. 
Matthew means by saying to be perfect or complete as the Father is perfect by looking at the 
context and glancing back a bit. Speaking of the Father, he says: "For he makes his sun rise 
on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (Mt. 5:45). In other 
words you must love everyone. Your love must go out to good and evil, just and unjust. "For 
if you love those who love you, what reward have you?" (Mt. 5:46). 11 The verb for "love" is the 
agape love. The verb agapao can mean "to love, value, esteem, feel or manifest generous 
concern for, be faithful towards; to delight in; to set store upon." 12 "If we love a person deeply 
and passionately, humbly and selflessly, we will be quite sure that if we give that person all we 
have to give, we will still be in default, that if we give that person the sun, the moon and the 
stars, we will still be in debt. He who is in love is always in debt; the last thing that enters his 
mind is that he has earned a reward." 13 

For Matthew the Father is one who rewards. Although he says that your light must shine 
he also cautions one to keep one's motive pure. Jesus says: "Be careful not to parade your 
good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your 
Father in heaven" (Mt. 6:1). Commenting on this passage William Barclay describes the 
Christian reward as threefold. 

The first of the Christian rewards is satisfaction. The doing of the right thing, obedience 
to Jesus Christ, the taking of his way, whatever else it may or may not bring, always 
brings satisfaction.... The second reward of the Christian life is still more work to do. It 
is the paradox of the Christian idea of reward that a task well done does not bring rest 
and comfort and ease; it brings still greater demands and still more strenuous 
endeavours.... The third, and the final, Christian reward is what men all through the 
ages have called the vision of God.... If a man all his life has sought to walk with God, 


if he has sought to obey his Lord, if goodness has been his quest through all his days, 
then all his life he has been growing closer and closer to God, until in the end he passes 
into God's nearer presence, without fear and with radiant joy - and that is the greatest 
reward of all." 14 

In the threefold expression of piety (i.e., almsgiving, prayer and fasting) St. Matthew 
changes from the second person plural ("y'all", as the Texans would say) to the second person 
singular pronoun (sou in the Greek text). Two other aspects feature here: namely, that these 
works be done "in secret" and the omission of the modifier heavenly. When it is a matter of 
others giving praise to " your Father in heaven" he says "your light must shine" (Mt. 5:16). But 
if it is a matter of being noticed, the recommendation is that one not be seen by men but that 
one be seen by your Father . And for this purpose do it in secret "and your Father who sees all 
that is done in secret will reward you" (Mt. 6:4,6,18). 

The "Our Father" is in the midst of the above threefold presentation and uses possessive 
plural pronouns. It is a liturgical prayer and we say it three times daily. We are all God's 
children and as such we pray "Our Father in heaven" (Mt. 6:9). 15 

At the end of the "Our Father" the first element that is commented upon is forgiveness. 
"Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you 
do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either " (Mt. 6:14). God the Father 
is a forgiving Father and we must forgive just as he does because we are his children. At first 
sight this seems to be the only element that is commented upon at the end of the prayer. But 
if we skip past the "fasting" section, which uses the singular pronoun, the commentary seems 
to continue in a chiastic form (a-b-c-c-b-a). Jesus tells us that your heavenly Father feeds the 
birds of the air and "are you not worth much more than they are?" (Mt. 6:26). We can trust our 
Father to provide for our needs. He will not refuse our prayer for daily bread. He feeds us with 
the best of wheat and with the cup of his Son's blood, which is "poured out for many for the 
forgiveness of sins" (Mt. 26:28). The birds do not sow or reap but receive their food as pure gift. 
"Are you not worth much more than they are?" (Mt. 6:26). What a price the Son of God paid 
for our salvation and for the forgiveness of our sins! Jesus says: "Do not say, 'What are we to 
eat? What are we to drink? How are we to be clothed?' ... your heavenly Father knows you 
need them all" (Mt. 6:31-32). Our heavenly Father feeds us with the Body and Blood of his only 
Son. He sent his Son, who clothed himself in our humanity. And St. Paul urges us to "put on 
the Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 13:14). 

Jesus tells us to "set your hearts on his (the Father's) kingdom first, and on his 
righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well" (Mt. 6:33). Regarding prayer, 
Jesus urges the disciple to "ask,, ...knock" (Mt. 7:7). He concludes: "If you, then, who 
are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will your Father in 
heaven give good things to those who ask him!" (Mt. 7:1 1). The Father seems to have as St. 
Catherine would say an "eager desire" to give to his children but they must ask. 

Jesus taught us to begin our prayer with "Our Father in heaven... your kingdom come, 
your will be done..." (Mt. 6:9). And ending our chiasm he warns that "It is not those who say to 
me, 'Lord, Lord,' who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my 
Father in heaven" (Mt. 7:21 ). This is St. Mattthew's first use of my Father in heaven. All the 
preceding mention of the Father has been placed in the evangelical discourse taking place on 
the Mount of Beatitudes and Jesus has spoken of your Father in heaven. 

The next mention of Father takes place within the apostolic discourse. Jesus tells them 
that they will be persecuted but not to worry. "What you are to say will be given to you when the 
time comes; because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking 
in you" (Mt. 10:20). Although he counsels the apostles not to fear those who can kill the body, 
Jesus does not say they will not die but that your Father knows and cares. "Can you not buy 
two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing... 
you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows" (Mt. 1 0:29, 31 ). Jesus continues: "So if anyone 
declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence qf 
my Father in heaven. But the one who disowns me in the presence of men, I will disown in the 
presence of mv Father in h@&\mn" (Mt. 10:31-33). This is serious business and not children's 

In the section of his gospel which has the heading "The Mystery of the Kingdom of 
Heaven" St. Matthew presents the Father as the one who reveals. The Father reveals because 
it pleases him to do so. "At that time Jesus exclaimed, 'I bless you, Father, Lord Of h@av@n and 
of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere 
children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do" (Mt. 11:25). A footnote in the 
Jerusalem bible points out that "these things" refer not to what precedes these verses but to the 
'mysteries of the kingdom.' Jesus replied to the disciples: "To you it has been given to know the 
secrets of the kingdom of heaven..." (Mt. 13:11). In his revealing the Father does not do it 
directly but in and through his Son. "Everything has been entrusted to me by mv Father , and 
no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and 
those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him" (Mt. 1 1 :26-27). The Greek word for "entrust" is 
paredothe, which can be translated give over, hand over, deliver up, commit, intrust, etc. 16 In 
Greek the verbs are the root form of nouns, adjectives and adverbs. In this instance we can 
gain a little insight into this verb by taking a look at various uses or translations for the noun. 
It can be translated in the New Testament as what is transmitted in the way of teaching, precept, 
doctrine.' 17 One gets a sense of "handing over" as in a tradition, something that is entrusted 
from one to another. In the Old Testament the Word of God was "handed over" from one 
generation to another before it was ever written down. Notice too that the revelation is made 
to "mere children" or "babes" as the RSV translation has it. The nepiois is used here metaphor- 
ically as a babe in knowledge, unlearned, simple™ The children come to know their Father 
through their elder brother. This section is Johannine in flavor and has the Johannine kaleido- 
scope colors of pink and blue in the words the Father, mv Father and the direct address 
Father. Later in Matthew's gospel Peter professes that Jesus is, yes, the Christ but also "the 
Son of the living God" (Mt. 16:16). And again it is the Father who reveals this. Jesus says to 
Peter: "Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that 
revealed this to you but mv Father in htav@n" (Mt. 16:17). 

In St. Matthew's collection of parables the Father is mentioned once. It occurs in the 
parable of the darnel being explained to the disciples. The darnel, symbolizing those who have 
done evil, is gathered and burnt in the fire at the end of time. But the "virtuous will shine like the 
sun in the kingdom of their Father " (Mt. 13:43). Do you hear the echo ringing of Matthew's first 
mention of the Father? "Your light must shine ... so that ... they may give the praise to your 
Father in h^av^n" (Mt. 5:16). 

The "Mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven" section (Chapters 1 1 and 1 2) in St. Matthew's 
gospel ends with: "Anyone who does the will of mv Father in hwmn, he is my brother and 
sister and mother" (Mt. 12:50). We might ask just what the Father's will is, since the one who 


does his will enters the kingdom. Sometimes it is a help to say what something is not in order 
to come closer to understanding what it is. Jesus tells us that "it is never the will of your Father 
in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost (Mt. 18:14). Here Jesus is speaking of the 
one stray sheep. This text is in the section in St. Matthew's gospel on the "Discourse of the 
Church", i.e., Chapter 18. If it is not the Father's will that one of these little ones be lost, could 
that be reworded in a positive statement to say that it is the Father's will that all be saved? The 
next place we find the Father's will mentioned is in Gethsemane. "My Father,... let it be as you, 
not I, would have it"(Mt. 26:39V And again: "My Father, ... your will be done!" (Mt. 26:42). 

Immediately preceding the lesson of the lost sheep is the warning about leading others 
astray. It ends "See that you never despise any of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels 
in heaven are continually in the presence of my Father in heaven" (Mt. 18:10). The Jerusalem 
bible has a footnote that some ancient manuscripts add verse 1 1 , which reads: "For the Son 
of Man has come to save what was lost." The Father's love not only provides angels, who are 
continually in the Father's presence and who intercede for their charges but sends his beloved 
Son to suffer and die that men and women might be saved. 

In Chapter 23 of Matthew's gospel Jesus says: "You must call no one on earth your 
father, since you have only one Father and he is in heaven" (Mt. 23:9). He alone is Father. 
Might not we hear this as an echo of Deuteronomy, substituting the New Testament revelation 
of God as Father? "Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone!" (Dt. 6:4). Hear, you 
little ones, the Lord is our Father, the Lord alone! 

The Father is omniscient; he is all-knowing. Only the Father knows the day and the hour 
of the end time. "But as for that day and hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, 
not the Son, no one but the Father only" (Mt. 24:36). He knows your needs. He knows every 
hair of your head. He knows your inmost thoughts. He knows what is in the heart of man. 

The Father is the one who is all powerful. But he is also patient. He waits for his way- 
ward children to come home; he sends his Son to search for the lost. His Son will lay down his 
life for the sheep. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus said to Peter: "Do you think that I cannot 
appeal to my Father who would promptly send more than twelve legions of angles to my 
defence?" (Mt. 26:53). Jesus waits for the Father with courage. He is stouthearted. He knows 
that the Father will come at the proper moment and his reward is with him. 

The Father is one who rewards. No angels appeared in Matthew's Gethsemane to 
comfort the Son or when the Son laid down his life. But the Son will have the reward of 
inaugurating the kingdom of the Father at the Last Judgment. 19 "For the Son of Man is going 
to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and, when he does, he will reward each one 
according to his behaviour" (Mt. 16:27). 

The seats at Jesus' right and left in the kingdom are allotted by the Father. "They belong 
to those to whom they have been allotted by my Father " (Mt. 20:23). Those who enter the 
kingdom are recognized by their rootedness in the family of God, i.e., they are sons and 
daughters (Mt. 5:44). The God of the Old Testament "brought a vine out of Egypt" and planted 
it (Ps. 80). Jesus tells his disciples that "any plant my heavenly Father has not planted will be 
pulled up by the roots..." (Mt. 15:13). It is important to remain rooted in the family of the Father 
and not become an outcast like the unforgiving debtor. And Jesus makes that quite clear. "And 


that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you forgive your brother from your 
heart" (Mt. 18:35). 

We belong to God's royal family. St. Matthew gives us the genealogy of Jesus Christ, 
son of David...," the Lord's chosen King (Mt. 1 :1). The kingdom theme is throughout his gospel. 
At the judgment "Christ, the Messiah-King, ushers the elect from his own kingdom to that of his 
Father." 20 "Then the King will say to those on his right hand, 'Come, you whom mv Father has 
blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you»from the foundation of the world" 
(Mt. 25:34). The children are the recipients of the inheritance; they are heirs and they are heirs 
because the Father has made them such. The firstborn son is the recipient of the father's 
blessing in the Jewish tradition. Isaac claimed Esau's blessing. But we, as the Father's children 
receive a blessing because we are one with Jesus, the true Son; we are his brothers and 

St. Luke arid the Father 

Those elements or themes unique to St. Luke in regard to the Father touch on and 
include: compassion and the Holy Spirit. His parable on the prodigal son is revelatory of the 
Father's love for us. Those who influence us color our thinking and it is said that St. Luke 
received much of his material from Our Lady, the Daughter of God the Father, Spouse of the 
Holy Spirit and the Mother of Compassion. Perhaps that is one reason why St. Luke so often 
mentions women in his gospel. Being a Gentile, he would have been considered an outcast by 
the Jews and "outcasts" feature in his gospel too. 

In St. Luke's first mention of the Father Jesus says: "Be compassionate as your Father 
is compassionate" (Lk 6:36). Some translations have "merciful" and the Greek word oiktirmon 
can be translated either. However, the root verb, oikteiro is "to compassionate, have com- 
passion on, exercise grace or favour towards". For the noun oiktirmos the lexicon gives 
compassion; kindness, in relieving sorrow and want; favour, grace, mercy. The Greek word for 
"mercy" is eieos and can mean a benefit which results from compassion. Luke was of pagan 
origin and if we look at the ancient Greek meanings, oiktirmos "is used for the emotion of 
sympathy itself. Oiktirein thus means 'to be sympathetic' in the sense of grief or sorrow, but also 
in that of the sympathy which is ready to help.... Mercy is invoked from the deity, or oiktirein is 
predicated of it." 21 

The exhortation to "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who 
curse you, pray for those who treat you badly..." (Lk 6:27) occurs in the preceding section of 
Luke's gospel. That section ends with "You will have a great reward, and you will be sons of the 
Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked" (Lk 6:35). Note that in Luke 
loving one's enemies and doing good thus makes one a son of God. 

Jesus practices what he preaches. His first words from the cross are: "Father, forgive 
them; they do not know what they are doing" (Lk 23:34). The Greek word for (Jesus) "said" 
(e/egen) is in the imperfect tense. In Greek that connotes a sense of repeated action and could 
be translated: "he kept saying." The "saying" might not necessarily be a verbal one but certainly 
one flowing from the heart! Forgiveness has been described as giving a free gift to someone 
who does not deserve it. It takes the divine power of love to bestow forgiveness. 

Luke the physician certainly would be attuned to physical illness but perhaps he also had 
that perception of spiritual illness that causes men and women to act in less than godly ways. 
How does healing come to the wounded minds and hearts of God's sick children? Might it be 
through forgiveness? 

Corrie ten Boom was in a German concentration camp with her sister. She had suffered 
at the hands of the Germans but later went about preaching forgiveness. Her mind and heart 
had good intentions but when she recognized a former S.S. man in the church in which she was 
speaking flashbacks raced through her mind. 

He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. 'How 
grateful I am for your message, Fraulein.' he said. To think that, as you say, He has 
washed my sins away!' 

His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the 
people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side. 

Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. 
Jesus Christ had died for this man; and was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I 
prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him. 

I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the 
slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I 
cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness. 

As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along 
my arm and though my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my 
heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me 

And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our 
goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our 
enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself. 22 

The Holy Spirit holds special mention in Luke's gospel. Speaking of Jesus, St. Luke tells 
us: "filled with joy by the Holy Spirit, he said, I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for 
hiding these things. ..and revealing them to mere children. Yes, FafAierthat is what it pleased 
you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father ..." (Lk 10:21-22). The Father 
entrusts all to the Son, including man's redemption. 

God breathed the breath of life into Adam, placed him in the Garden of Eden and 
entrusted its care to him. (In Greek the word pneuma means both breath and spirit). Luke 
traces Jesus' ancestry back to "Adam, son of God" (Lk 3:38). Adam and Eve, the first woman, 
rupture their relationship with the Father and turn thief by taking what was not theirs to take, i.e., 
fruit from the tree of knowledge. The Son of the Father will reconcile humankind to the Father 
by permitting himself to be hanged on the tree of the cross between two criminals (might they 
be thieves?). 

Jesus, the true Son of God, instructs his disciples that these words must be fulfilled in 
him: "He let himself be taken for a criminal" (Lk 22: 37). (A criminal is one who breaks the law). 
One chapter later Jesus is crucified between two criminals. One asks Jesus: "Remember me 
when you come into your kingdom" (Lk 23:42). Jesus promises him paradeiso. The word is 
translated paradise in the New Testament; but it can mean a park, a forest, a garden of trees 
of various kinds, a pleasure-park. In the Septuagint it stands for the Garden of Eden 2Z 


In chapter twelve Jesus tells his disciples not to worry about "your life and what you are 
to eat, nor about your body and how you are to clothe it" (Lk 12: 22). " Your Father well knows 
you need" these things. "Set your hearts on his kingdom, and these other things will be given 
you as well" (Lk 12:30, 31). In the Garden of Eden God clothed the thieves, Adam and Eve. 
On Calvary one thief set his heart on the kingdom. If the father of the prodigal son called for a 
robe, sandals, a ring (signifying his sonship), will the Father not fittingly clothe the thief, who is 
with his Son in paradise. The thief no longer thief but now a brother of Jesus and son of the 
Father. The same words said to, the disciples might well be applied to the Good Thief: "There 
is no need to be afraid ... it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom"! (Lk 12:32). 

In Luke's account of the Lord's Supper immediately after the institution of the Eucharist, 
Jesus tells of his betrayal. The disciples question one another, which of them would do this but 
in the next breath they are disputing about which of them is the greatest. In effect Jesus tells 
them that the greatest is the one who serves and then adds: "You are the men who have stood 
by me faithfully in my trials; and now I confer a kingdom on you, just as my Father conferred 
one on me: you will eat and drink at my table in my kingdom..." (Lk 22:28-29). The ironic thing 
is that Peter will yet deny and the others will not stand but flee. The Greek word diatithemai, 
here translated "confer," can mean to arrange according to one's own mind; to make a 
disposition, to make a will; to settle the terms of a covenant, to ratify. 24 

Here one might recall St. Luke's parable of the prodigal son. He is the only evangelist 
who gives it to us and Henri Nouwen wrote a whole book on the painting by Rembrandt 
depicting this parable. 25 In the parable the father represents God the Father. We might see a 
likeness in the lavishness of the father giving his undeserving younger son his share of his 
inheritance. Did not Adam and Eve squander their heritage? In his book Nouwen suggests that 
the prodigal son returning to his father might symbolize Jesus, who took upon himself our sinful 
humanity. The Father thus restores his alienated children to the heritage that was theirs as 
sons and daughters through his Son. All the outcasts, the tax collectors and sinners, the thief 
at his side are called to be sons of the kingdom. 

God breathed into Adam the pneuma (breath/spirit) of God and he became a living 
being. On the cross Jesus' last words in Luke's gospel are: "Father, into your hands I commit 
my spirit" (Lk 23:46). And Luke, the physician, concludes this verse saying:"With these words 
he breathed his last." Here we have Jesus breathing forth his spirit {pneuma) back to the 
Father, who is the source of life. 

After his resurrection Jesus said to his disciples: "And now I am sending down to you 
what the Father has promised" (Lk 24:49). This is Luke's last mention of the Father in his 
gospel but he continues the message in the Acts of the Apostles. "He told them ... to wait there 
for what the Father had promised" (Acts 1:4). Asking about when the kingdom would be 
restored, Jesus answered: "It is not for you to know times or dates that the Father has decided 
by his own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then 
you will be my witnesses..." (Acts 1 :7-8). Luke's final mention of the Father is Trinitarian. "God 
raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that. Now raised to the heights by 
God's right hand, he has received from the Father the Holy Spirit, who was promised, and what 
you see and hear is the outpouring of that Spirit" (Acts 2:32-33). 

Granting pardon brings a reward from our compassionate Father: "Grant pardon, and 
you will be pardoned. Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, 



shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap..." (Lk 6:38). How much more 
will be the outpouring, the gushing forth of the Spirit. 

St. John and the Father 

St. John's kaleidoscope colors were almost entirely blue and pink. Throughout St. 
John's gospel Jesus spoke of the Father, my Father , or in direct address Father* Only once 
and at the very end of his gospel does he speak positively to the disciples about your Father . 
St. John is the mystic theologian; in his gospel he emphasizes Christ's oneness or union with 
the Father. In his first and second letter he mentions especially our relationship with the Father. 

St. John is the beloved disciple, who "was lying close to the breast of Jesus" (Jn. 1 3:23) 26 
at the last Supper. This is the disciple, who as it were, heard the heartbeat of the Lord Jesus. 
He tells us: "it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Father's heart, who has made him known" 
(Jn. 1:18). Might we not say that in a sense Jesus heard the heartbeat of the Father? The 
Phillips Modern English translation reads thus: "It is true that no one has ever seen God at any 
time. Yet the divine and only Son, who lives in the closest intimacy with the Father, has made 
him known." 

The Greek word "kolpos" means "the bosom." The Jerusalem Bible and the New 
English Bible seem to convey the sense of the text in their translations. It seems to me that the 
New American Bible leaves much to be desired with its translation: "ever at the Father's side," 
more like sitting in two chairs than that symbolized by reclining on the bosom or close to the 
heart. The New Oxford Annotated Bible translates the verse: "The only Son, who is in the 
bosom of the Father, he has made him known. Have you ever heard someone say: "I can't get 
inside him/her?" What they are basically saying is that they do not understand how they think, 
what they feel, what makes them tick. Ronald Knox has this rendition of the aforementioned 
verse: "No man has ever seen God; but now his only-begotten Son, who abides in the bosom 
of the Father, has himself become our interpreter. " I found "interpreter" an odd word at first but 
as I reflected on it, I realized that an interpreter takes the message and speaks it in another 
language so as to render it understandable - in so far as that is possible. It can be a challenge 
with idioms. But that is what God the Word, the Word made flesh, did. He tried to convey in 
human language a divine message of love and he did it because he was sent by the Father. 
The Father wanted us to get the message and who best could give it but the Son after his own 

This being "sent by the Father" appears in various forms in St. John's gospel over a 
dozen times. We see it again and again. The Father sent the Son because he was drawing 
us to himself. He sent the Son to teach us. Jesus says: "No one can come to me unless he 
is drawn by the Father who sent me, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the 
prophets: They will all be taught by God, and to hear the teaching of the Father and learn from 
it, is to come to me. Not that anybody has seen the Father, except the one who comes from 
God: he has seen the Father" (Jn. 6:44-46). Let us see some of the elements in this kaleido- 
scope-look at the Father as seen in St. John's gospel. 

The Father is the source of life and he makes the Son source of life. "Whoever listens 
to my words, and believes in the one who sent me, has eternal life;... the Father, who is the 
source of life, has made the Son the source of life;..." (Jn. 5:24, 26). The Father raises the dead 


and gives them life. "As the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son gives life..." 
(Jn. 5:21). The Son draws life from the Father. "I, who am sent by the living Father, myself 
draw life from the Father..." (Jn. 6:57). 

The Father gives life-giving bread, bread from heaven. "It is my Father who gives you 
the bread from heaven, the true bread; for the bread of God is that which comes down from 
heaven and gives life to the world" (Jn. 6:32). "Whoever eats me will draw life from me... 
anyone who eats this bread will live for ever" (Jn. 6:57,58). 

Let us now look at what St. John, the mystic theologian tells us about the Father and the 
Son and their relationship. We will draw heavily from the Fathers of the Church for helping us 
to understand what St. John is teaching us in his gospel. 

"I and the Father are one" (Jn. 10:30). 27 St. Augustine writes: "We are one. What He 
is, that am I, in respect of essence, not of relation." 28 St. Hilary writes: "They are one, not by any 
economy merely, but by the nativity of the Son's nature, since there is no falling off of the 
Father's divinity in begetting Him.... The Father and Son are one in respect of nature, honour, 
and virtue: and the same nature cannot will different things." 29 

The Father and the Son are in one another by their equality. Jesus exhorts the 
unbelieving Jews to believe the works he did that they might know that: "...the Father is in me 
and I am in the Father" (Jn. 10:38). St. Augustine says: "The Only-begotten Son of God is in 
the Father, and the Father in Him, as an equal in an equal." 30 

The Father and the Son are in one another by their essential nature but they are distinct 
Persons. At the Last Supper Philip wants to see the Father and Jesus responds: "To have seen 
me is to have seen the Father.... Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father 
is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak as from myself: it is the Father, living in me, 
who is doing this work. You must believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father 
is in me..." (Jn. 14:9, 10-11). St. Augustine writes: "When two persons are very like each, we 
say, If you have seen the one, you have seen the other. So here, He that hath seen Me, hath 
seen the Father, not that He is both the Father, and the Son, but that the Son is an absolute 
likeness of the Father." 31 And St. Hilary writes: "For what excuse was there for ignorance of the 
Father, or what necessity to shew Him, when the Father was seen in the Son by His essential 
nature, while by the identity of unity, the Begotten and the Begetter are one: Believest thou not 
that I am in the Father and the Father in Me?... But the Father is in the Son, and the Son in the 
Father, not by a conjunction of two harmonizing essences, nor by a nature grafted into a more 
capacious substance as in material bodies, in which it is impossible that what is within can be 
made external to that which contains it; but by the birth of a nature which is life from life; 
forasmuch as from God nothing but God can be born. The unchangeable God follows, so to 
speak, His own nature, by begetting unchangeable God.... We understand then here the nature 
of God subsisting in Him, since God is in God, nor besides Him who is God, can any other be 
God." 32 

We look to the letters of St. John to see what makes us to be begotten by God. 
"Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ has been begotten by God; and whoever loves the 
Father that begot him loves the child whom he begets" (1 Jn. 5:1). The Phillips Modern English 
translation reads thus: "Everyone who really believes that Jesus is the Christ is himself one of 
God's family. The man who loves the Father cannot help loving the Father's sons." 


How awesome to be children of God. St. John tells us to think about that and to think 
about the Father's love that brought it about. "Think of the love that the Father has lavished on 
us, by letting us be called God's children; and that is what we are" (1 Jn. 3:1). [I will bold-type 
certain words in this same verse using various texts to show how enriching it can be to read 
more than one translation to deepen our appreciation of a given verse.] Consider the incred- 
ible love that the Father has shown us in allowing us to be called "children of God" - and that 
is not just what we are called, but what we are." 33 "See what love the Father has given us, that 
we should be called children of God; and so we are.", 34 "See how very much our heavenly 
Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children - think of it - and we really are. 1 " 35 

"The Father loves the Son..." (Jn. 3:35). The Father shows the Son everything he does 
himself (See Jn. 5:20). "The Father raises the dead and gives them life..." (Jn. 5:21). It was 
the will of the Father that his Only-begotten Son be sent on a mission of love. "I have come 
from heaven, not to do my own will, but to do the will of the one who sent me.... Yes, it is my 
Father's will that whoever sees the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and that I 
shall raise him up on the last day" (Jn. 6:37,39-40). Jesus states: "The Father loves me, 
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me; I lay it down 
of my own free will, and as it is in my power to lay it down, so it is in my power to take it up again; 
and this is the command I have been given by my Father " (Jn. 10:17-18). Theophylact writes: 
"The Father does not bestow His love on the Son as a reward for the death He suffered in our 
behalf; but He loves Him, as beholding in the Begotten His own essence, whence proceeded 
such love for mankind. 36 And Chrysostom writes: "He says, in condescension to our weakness, 
Though there were nothing else which made Me love you, this would, that ye are so loved by 
My Father, that, by dying for you, I shall win His love. Not that He was not loved by the Father 
before, or that we are the cause of such love." 37 

In John's gospel we see a movement from heaven to earth and back to heaven again. 
"I came from the Father and have come into the world and now I leave the world to go to the 
Father (Jn. 16:28). Jesus knew the "hour" when all would take place. "It was before the festival 
of the Passover, and Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the 
Father. He had always loved those who were his in the world, but now he showed how perfect 
his love was.... Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had 
come from God and was returning to God,..." (Jn. 13:1, 3). At the Last Supper Jesus prayed: 
'Father, the hour has come.... I have glorified you on earth and finished the work that you gave 
me to do. Now, Father, it is time for you to glorify me with that glory I had with you before ever 
the world was. I have made your name known..." (Jn. 17:1,4-6). 

His Name is "Father"; it is not just a title. In biblical thought the "name" is the person 
The Phillips Modern English translation for the above verse reads: "I have shown your self to 
the men...." The Greek verb phaneroo can be translated in many ways, some of which include: 
to bring to light, to set in a clear light; to manifest, display; to declare, make known; to disclose; 
to reveal; to present to view 38 

Chapter 20 is the last chapter in St. John's gospel where he makes mention of the 
Father. It is here after the resurrection of Jesus and at the empty tomb that Jesus says to Mary 
Magdalene: "Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go and 
find the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and vour Father , to my God and 
your God" (Jn. 20:17). Note that Jesus says to find the "brothers." Now all believers are 


children of God. Now Jesus tells us he is your Father . Although he is speaking to Mary 
Magdalen, the "your" is plural. 

In the final mention of "Father" in St. John's gospel it is the same day, the first day of the 
week. This time he is in the upper room with his fearful disciples. He says to them: "As the 
Father sent me, so am I sending you." As God's children, believers are to carry on the mission 
and work of the Father. " After saying this he breathed on them and said: 'Receive the Holy 
Spirit..." (Jn. 20:21). Note the pneuma breath/spirit. At the Last Supper Jesus had said: "I shall 
ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you for ever, that Spirit of 
truth..." (Jn. 14:15). And again: "When the Advocate comes, whom I shall send to you from the 
Father, the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father, he will be my witness. And you too will 
be witnesses..." (Jn. 15:26-27). 

As the Father sends the Son on a mission of love, so too the Son sends those who 
believe in him on a mission of love. St. John begins his first letter saying: "Something which has 
existed since the beginning, that we have heard, and we have seen with our own eyes; that we 
have watched and touched with our hands: the Word, who is life - this is our subject. That life 
was made visible: we saw it and we are giving our testimony, telling you of the eternal life which 
was with the Father and has been made visible to us. What we have seen and heard we are 
telling you so that you too may be in union with us, as we are in union with the Father and with 
his Son Jesus Christ" (Un. 1:1-3). 

The Father is a life giver. The Son came that we might have life and have it to the full, 
abundantly and eternally. We are made children of God. We have been made members of the 
divine household. Jesus said: "There are many rooms in my Father's house..." (Jn. 14:2). That 
Greek word, oikos, is so rich. It can mean a house, dwelling; place of abode; met. a spiritual 
house or structure; meton. a household, family; a spiritual household; family, lineage. 39 The 
Greek noun mone can mean a stay in any place; an abode, dwelling, mansion. One might 
wonder if this is the text which prompted St. Teresa to write about the interior castle with its 
seven mansions, where the soul dwells in God. The verb form and root word of mone is meno; 
some of its meanings include: to dwell, lodge, sojourn, to remain, to abide, to be in close and 
settled union; to indwell. 40 

This union, this dwelling in God will be an eternal indwelling. So John writes: "Keep alive 
in yourselves what you were taught in the beginning: as long as what you were taught in the 
beginning is alive in you, you will live in the Son and in the Father; and what is promised to you 
by his own promise is eternal life" (1 Jn. 2:24-25). Let us listen to John say it again in the Phillips 
Modern English translation. "For yourselves keep faithful to what you heard at the beginning. 
If you do, you will be living in fellowship with both the Father and the Son. And that means 
sharing his own life for ever, as he has promised." 

No longer are the children of Adam and Eve estranged from their heavenly Father. As 
the Son returns to his Father, so too does the believer now made a child of God. And so as not 
to forget that this is an awesome thing, beyond the human mind, we close St. John's kaleido- 
scope with a glimpse into the royal throne room. "Those who prove victorious I will allow to 
share my throne, just as I was victorious myself and took my place with mv Father on his 
throne" (Rev. 3:21). And might we add - close to his heart! 


St. Paul and the Father 

St. Paul's kaleidoscope colors are predominately blue and purple. In his letters he 
mentions the Father and our Father. Paul mentions the Father forty times and 35% of those 
appear in the salutation of his letters. 

Every single letter of Paul makes mention of the Father in the salutation. "Grace and 
peace to you from God' our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ" (Eph. 1:2). "May God our 
Father and the Lord Jesus Christ send grace and peace" (Rom. 1 :7). Notice the two gifts and 
the two Sources of those gifts. These two sets are contained in every one of Paul's salutations. 

The Greek word for grace is charis. "In Paul charis is a central concept that most clearly 
expresses his understanding of the salvation event... Specifically Pauline is the use of the word 
to expound the structure of the salvation event." 41 Charis for Paul is free unmerited grace; it is 
a free gift; it is actualized in the cross of Christ. "The event of salvation is in itself orientated to 
the sinner and carries justification with it; hence it is received in faith.... The power of grace is 
displayed in its work, the overcoming of sin." 42 In Deutero-Pauline epistles "charis means the 
Gospel, saving doctrine; to hear and perceive God's charis is to become a Christian." 43 

The Greek word for peace is eirene. St. Paul uses it in his greetings in much the same 
way the Rabbis did using the Hebrew word shalom. It has a sense of well-being. The Rabbis 
use shalom for the gift of God to his people. It sums up the blessings of the Messianic period. 
In the New Testament eirene, when used in greetings and similar expressions, has the sense 
of well-being or salvation. The Risen Lord Jesus used this greeting when he appeared to his 
disciples: "Peace be with you" (Jn. 20:21). 

This grace and peace come from both the Father and the Lord Jesus. "Grace and 
peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 1:2). Paul frequently 
mentions both Father and Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is they who work out, bring about and 
effect our salvation. 

One of the general principles, which St. Paul gives us, is in his first letter to the 
Corinthians. The Corinthians were idol worshippers and Paul would bring them to the true God. 
"There is one God, the Father, from whom all things come and for whom we exist; and there 
is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things come and through whom we exist" (1Cor. 
8:6). To the Ephesians St. Paul writes about the one Lord and one Father. "There is one Lord, 
one faith, one baptism, and one God who is Father of all, over all, through all and within all" 
(Eph. 4:6). 

In researching the name "Father" in Strong's Concordance I discovered two verses, 
which were given in St. Pauls' letter to the Colossians and which I could not find in any of the 
translations I usually use. It turned out that these verses have "Father" in them only in the King 
James' version, which the Strong's Concordance uses. However, when I looked at the Greek 
text, the word for "Father" was not there; it had the word for "God." 

This search caused me to look more closely at the two verses concerned. In so doing 
I thought that I would incorporate them into this kaleidoscope-look at the Father in St. Paul's 


letters because they seemed to tie things together. First of all let me quote from Paul's letter 
to the Colossians. "That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto 
all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, 
and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" 
(Col. 2:2). u What struck me here was the word "mystery", musterion in Greek. The Greek word 
means a secret which would remain such but for revelation; a matter to the knowledge of which 
initiantion is necessary; a concealed power or principle; a hidden meaning of a symbol. 45 The 
mystery is God's secret plan for his world, which is revealed in salvation history. "So that your 
understanding may come to full development, until you really know God's secret." And as the 
Phillips Modern English version expresses it: "How I long for them to experience the wealth of 
conviction which is brought by understanding - that they may come to know more fully God's 
great secret, Christ himself!" 


In Christ the plan of God is fully revealed and realized. The heart of the mystery is this 
"manifestation" and "realization." The "manifestation" is made visible in Jesus Christ; the "reali- 
zation" comes about because God does things, he makes them happen. The Church is a 
mystery in that it embodies and shows forth (manifestation) the saving presence and work of 
God (realization). The second quote speaks of Christ as head of the Church and the saving 
work effected by his death and resurrection. "And he is the head of the body, the church: who 
is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 
For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through 
the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself..." (Col. 1:1 8-20). 46 

As I examined St. Paul's mention of the Father in his letters, for the most part I began 
to see a thread of sacramentology uniting the texts. Take for instance our new life in Christ. 
"When we were baptised we went into the tomb with him and joined him in death, so that as 
Christ was raised from the dead by the Father's glory, we too might live a new life." (Rom. 6:4). 

In his letter to the Ephesians Paul again speaks of the Father being the one to raise 
Christ from the dead. Note also the manifestation, "what is revealed" and the realization "how 
great is the power that he has exercised for us believers." "May the God of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to 
bring you to full knowledge of him. May he enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see 
what hope his call holds for you, what rich glories he has promised the saints will inherit and how 
infinitely great is the power that he has exercised for us believers. This you can tell from the 
strength of his power at work in Christ, when he used it to raise him from the dead and to make 
him sit at his right hand..." (Eph. 1:17). 

Paul tells the Galatians that they are sons of God through faith in Christ. "You are, all 
of you, sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. All baptized in Christ, you have all clothed 
yourselves in Christ.. .all of you are one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:26-28). A few verses later he 
says it another way and gives an explanation as to what proves that those baptized into Christ 
are sons of God. Notice the revelation and manifestation. "When the appointed time came, 
God sent his Son, born of a woman, born a subject of the Law, to redeem the subjects of the 
Law and to enable us to be adopted as sons. The proof that youare sons is that God has sent 
the Spirit of his Son into our hearts: the Spirit that cries, "Abba, Father," and it is this that makes 
you a son, you are not a slave any more; and if God has made you son, then he has made you 


heir" (Gal. 4:4-7). In the text just quoted Paul uses "God" and not "Father." However, it is 
obvious that it is the Father who sent the Son and it is the Father, who sent the Spirit of his Son. 

Here we see a bit of Mark's influence. St. Mark, also known as John Mark, assisted St. 
Paul in his apostolic work. Remember that St. Mark is the only evangelist to mention Jesus' 
addressing the Father as "Abba" in the Garden of Olives. It is this crying out to God with words 
of intimacy in which one is moved by the Spirit, that proves one is a son/daughter/child of God. 

Receiving the Spirit was closely linked with baptism in the early Church. In his letter to 
the Romans St. Paul again writes on this theme. "Everyone moved by the Spirit is a son of 
God. The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the 
spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out, 'Abba, Father!' The Spirit himself and our spirit bear 
united witness that we are children of God. And if we are children we are heirs as well: heirs of 
God and coheirs with Christ, sharing his sufferings so as to share his glory" (Rom. 8:14-17). 
With this mention of the Spirit we can also see the influence of St. Luke (or perhaps Luke was 
influenced by Paul). St. Luke accompanied Paul on his second and third missionary journeys 
and was with him during his two Roman captivities. 

For Paul Christ Jesus brought about reconciliation through his cross. Through Christ 
and in the Spirit all can come to the Father. Note also his use of the word peace in the verse 
from Isaiah. "But now in Christ Jesus, you that used to be so far apart from us have been 
brought very close, by the blood of Christ. For he is the peace between us, and has made the 
two into one.... This was to create one single New Man in himself out of the two of them and 
by restoring peace through the cross, to unite them both in a single Body and reconcile them 
with God. In his own person he killed the hostility. Later he came to bring the good news of 
peace, peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near at hand. Through 
him, both of us have in the one Spirit our way to come to the Father" (Eph. 2:13, 14, 15-17). 

St. Paul writes to the Corinthians, who formerly worshipped idols in their temples, and 
tells them that they are temples of the true and living God. They have been reconciled with God 
through Christ and should not return to their former way of life. If they persevere, they will be 
sons and daughters of God. " The temple of God has no common ground with idols, and that 
is what we are - the temple of the living God. We have God's word for it: / will make my home 
among them and live with them; I will be their God and they shall be my people. Then come 
away from them and keep aloof, says the Lord . . . and I will welcome you and be your father, 
and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Almighty Lord" (2Cor. 6:16-18). 

Paul prays to the Father. Earlier we mentioned how St. Paul says that the Spirit prays 
in us crying out: "Abba, Father." "This, then, is what I pray, kneeling before the Father, from 
whom every family, whether spiritual or natural, takes its name: Out of his infinite glory, may he 
give you the power through his Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live 
in your hearts through faith..." (Eph. 3:14-17). 

To the Corinthians he writes: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
a gentle Father and the God of all consolation, who comforts us in all our sorrows, so that we 
can offer others, in their sorrows, the consolation that we have received from God ourselves" 
(2 Cor. 1:3-4). The Greek word translated "blessed" is eulogetos and means worthy of praise 
or blessing, blessed. The Jerusalem bible translates oiktirmon as "gentle." Most other transla- 


tions render it in some form or description of mercy. However, the Greek word can mean 
"compassion; kindness, in relieving sorrow and want; favour, grace, mercy." 47 How rich that 
word is and full of meaning, especially when one remembers and associates it with the "grace" 
in Paul's greetings. 

This seems to have a certain ring of Luke (Paul's traveling companion) in it. Remember 
Luke telling us to "Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate" (Lk 6:36). Again in the 
story of the Samaritan, who fell among robbers, Jesus asks which proved neighbor to him. The 
answer was "The one who took pity on him" (Lk. 10:37). The Greek word eleos is used here 
and means "pity, mercy, compassion; meton. [sic] benefit, which results from compassion, 
kindness, mercies, blessings." 48 But note Jesus' response to the answer. "Go and do likewise" 
(Lk. 10:37). Basically that is what Paul is saying. What we have received from the Father we 
in turn are to give to others. 

In his second letter to the Thessalonians St. Paul writes and mentions what the Father 
has given. " May our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father who has given us his love 
and, through his grace, such inexhaustible comfort and such sure hope, comfort you and 
strengthen you in everything good that you do or say" (2Thes. 2:16-17). The Revised Standard 
Versions reads: "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father who loved us and 
gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them 
in every good work and word." Again we see a kinship between St. Luke and St. Paul. In the 
Acts of the Apostles immediately before his ascension Jesus says: "you will receive power when 
the Holy Spirit comes on you and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but 
throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1 :8). It is evident 
that St. Paul took this to heart. His travels are a witness to that. He was compelled to spread 
the message in person, by letter and through his assistants. 

In the Gospel according to St. John we saw the theme of the Father sending the Son 
and the Son sending his disciples. In St. Paul's letters we have a sense of the disciple himself 
becoming a father in and through Christ. "You might have thousands of guardians in Christ, but 
not more than one father and it was I who begot you in Christ Jesus by preaching the Good 
News. That is why I beg you to copy me and why I sent you Timothy, my dear and faithful son 
in the Lord: he will remind you of the way that I live in Christ, as I teach it everywhere in all the 
churches" (1Cor. 4:15-17). And again we see the theme of spiritual fatherhood in Paul's letter 
to the Thessalonians: "You can remember how we treated every one of you as a father treats 
his children, teaching you what was right, encouraging you and appealing to you to live a life 
worthy of God, who is calling you to share the glory of his kingdom" (1Thes. 2:11-12). To 
Philemon Paul writes: "I am appealing to you for a child of mine, whose father I became while 
wearing these chains" (Phil 10). 

Paul prays to the Father and in his prayer we catch glimpses of the "manifestation" and 
"realization" of the mystery in the lives of believers. He thanks the Father for the believers and 
for their faith in action. "We always thank God for you all, and mention you in our prayers 
continually. We call to mind, before our God and Father, how your faith has shown itself in 
action, your love in labour, and your hope of our Lord Jesus Christ in fortitude" (1Thes. 1 :2-3). 49 
The Jerusalem Bible has: "constantly remember before God our Father how you have shown 
your faith in action, worked for love and persevered through hope, in our Lord Jesus Christ." 
To the Colossians Paul writes: "We have never failed to remember you in our prayers and to 


give thanks for you to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, ever since we heard about your 
faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you show toward all the saints because of the hope which 
is stored up for you in heaven" (Col. 1:3-5). 

Paul exhorts the Colossians to express the gratitude in their hearts and to thank God the 
Father through Christ. We also see him encouraging them to pass on the message they have 
been given through teaching and admonishing. "Always be thankful. Let the message of 
Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you. Teach each other, and advise each other, in all 
wisdom. With gratitude in your hearts sing psalms and hymns and inspired songs to God; and 
never say or do anything except in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father 
through him" (Col. 3:15-17). 

We also see some snippets of themes from the Lord's prayer in Paul's writings, which 
mention the Father in them. We see the "will of God our Father" mentioned in the opening of 
his letter to the Galatians. "We wish you the grace and peace of God our Father and of the Lord 
Jesus Christ, who in order to rescue us from this present wicked world sacrificed himself for our 
sins, in accordance with the will of God our Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" 
(Gal. 1 :3-5). Christ Jesus, the Son of God, has carried out the Father's will. Paul prays that the 
Colossians will do so too. "We have never failed to pray for you, and what we ask God is that 
through perfect wisdom and spiritual understanding you should reach the fullest knowledge of 
his will. So you will be able to lead the kind of life which the Lord expects of you..." (Col. 1:9-10). 

Through Christ the Father has delivered us from the power of sin and death and created 
a place for us in the kingdom. He has forgiven us our sins and given us all we need to 
overcome temptation. "You will have in you the strength, based on his own glorious power, 
never to give in, but to bear anything joyfully, thanking the Father who has made it possible for 
you to join the saints and with them to inherit the light. Because that is what he has done: he 
has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the kingdom of the Son 
that he loves, and in him, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins" (Col. 1:11-14). 

In St. John's Gospel there is a mutual glorification of Father and Son. In St. Paul glory 
is given to the Father in and through Christ. Again we have the sacramental theme of Christ 
as head of the Body, the Church, and ourselves incorporated into him as his members. "And 
may he who helps us when we refuse to give up, help you all to be tolerant with each other, 
following the example of Christ Jesus, so that united in mind and voice you may give glory to 
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 15:5-6). The Phillips Modern English 
translation has: "And then, as one man, you will sing from the heart the praises of God the 
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. So open your hearts to one another as Christ has opened his 
heart to you, and God will be glorified" (Rom. 15:6) . 

The Father has given the Lord Jesus the name above all other names that all may honor 
the Son as they honor the Father and it is in honoring the Son that glory is given to the Father. 
"God raised him high and gave him the name which is above all other names so that all beings 
in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend the knee at the name of Jesus and 
that every tongue should acclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 
2:9-1 1 ). After all is accomplished at the end time Christ will hand over the kingdom to God the 
Father from whom all things come. "After that will come the end, when he hands over the 


kingdom to God the Father..." (1 Cor. 15:24). And we close Paul's kaleidoscope with the words 
he closes his letter to the Philippians: "Glory to God, our Father, for ever and ever" (Phil. 4:20). 

The Author of the Letter to the Hebrews and the Father 

The author of the letter to the Hebrews does not readily use the name "Father." In his 
prologue he speaks of "God" speaking to us "by a Son," as the Revised Standard Version has 
it, or "in the Son" as the New English Bible translates it. He does not say that it is the Father 
speaking to us. 

The word "father" appears only two times in this letter. One of those times is at the 
beginning of the letter. The author asks a rhetorical question and this use of "father" is a quote 
from the Old Testament. "For to what angel did God ever say, Thou art my Son, today I have 
begotten thee'? Or again, 'I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son'?" (Heb. 1 :5). 50 
In one excerpt he quotes from the Old Testament in reference to the Son saying: "But of the 
Son he says, 'Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, the righteous scepter is the scepter of 
thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, thy God, 
has anointed thee..." (Heb. 1:8-9). 

In all fairness to the author it should be noted that the main focus of his letter is on the 
priesthood of Christ. Christ is priest and victim, who comes to do God's will. "And it is by God's 
will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" 
(Heb. 10:10). 51 He counsels Christians saying: "For you need endurance, so that you may do 
the will of God and receive what is promised" (Heb. 10:36). 52 Here we see the Christian 
following in the footsteps of Christ. 

Speaking of Christ, the author tells us that "Although he was Son, he learnt to obey 
through suffering; but having been made perfect, he became for all who obey him the source 
of eternal salvation..." (Heb. 5:8-9). For the author it seems that God the Father is a disci- 
plinarian of a sort but he is so because he loves his children. "Have you forgotten that 
encouraging text in which you are addressed as sons? My son, when the Lord corrects you, 
do not treat it lightly ... For the Lord trains the ones that he loves and he punishes all those that 
he acknowledges as his sons. Suffering is part of your training; God is treating you as his sons 
... Besides, we have all had our human fathers who punished us, and we respected them for 
it; we ought to be even more willing to submit ourselves to our spiritual Father, to be given life" 
(Heb. 12:5-7, 9). While the discipline may seem to have a negative connotation one must keep 
in mind the love behind it and the end in view, i.e., life. We have a loving Father, who disciplines 
us, so that we might have life with him eternally. 

St. James and the Father 

As I read the passages in the letter of St. James that mention the Father, I began to see 
words and thoughts that reminded me of the book of Genesis and creation. For instance words 
such as: "good", "light", "made" "created." Let us look at St. James' first mention of "Father." 
"It is all that is good, everything that is perfect, which is given us from above; it comes down 


from the Father of all light; with him there is no such thing as alteration, no shadow of a change. 
By his own choice he made us his children by the message of the truth so that we should be 
a sort of first-fruits of all that he had created" (James 1:17). 

St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that creation is a work of the Trinity. "To create belongs to 
God according to His being, that is, His essence, which is common to the three Persons. Hence 
to create is not proper to any one Person, but is common to the whole Trinity." 53 But St. Thomas 
also goes on to say that we attribute creation to the Father. We profess this every time we 
recite the Creed. "We believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth." 

Notice the creation parallels in those words of St. James, which are mentioned above. 
"All that is good" in James and "God saw that it was good" (Gen. 1:10,12,18,21,25), and "God 
saw all he had made, and indeed it was very good" (Gen. 1:31). James also mentions 
"everything that is perfect" and in Genesis we see creation taking place over seven days, seven 
being the "perfect" number in biblical thought. James also says "given from above" and in 
Genesis we read that "God's spirit hovered over the water" (Gen. 1:2), i.e., above the water. 
James also says that "it comes from the Father of light" and again in Genesis the first words 
God speaks creates light. "God said, 'Let there be light', and there was light" (Gen. 1:3). One 
can draw other parallels with "making man in his own image," (see Gen. 1 :26) "Be fruitful" (Gen. 
1 :28), and Abel offering God the firstborn (first-fruits) of his flock (see Gen. 4:4). 

In James' letter we can also see the theme of doing good and avoiding evil. It involves 
making a choice. Adam and Eve had a choice to make and we all know the outcome. James 
follows through on this theme. Above we read: "By his own choice he made us his children..." 
(James 1:17). Later he says: "Pure, unspoilt religion, in the eyes of God our Father is this: 
coming to the help of orphans and widows when they need it, and keeping oneself uncon- 
taminated by the world" (James 1:27). A pure, unspoilt offering is doing good to another, 
particularly to one who cannot pay you back. It is something positive in action, it gives life and 
perhaps brings a ray of light to brighten someone's life. The second half of James' formula is 
one of prevention. It equates to not making bad choices and sinning, not allowing oneself to 
be influenced by the temptations that assail one. 

St. James is well aware that we are weak children of Adam. He says: "Every one of us 
does something wrong, over and over again" (James 3:2). He zooms in on the tongue and its 
use." Among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a whole wicked world in itself (James 3:6). 
That's really strong language! Imagine - a whole wicked world. He continues: "It infects the 
whole body; catching fire itself from hell, it sets fire to the whole wheel of creation" (James 3:6). 
Again we think of creation and God's creatures as James continues: "Wild animals and birds, 
reptiles and fish can all be tamed by man, and often are" (James 3:7). God, who made man 
in his own image gave him dominion. "Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, 
the cattle, all the wild beasts and all the reptiles that crawl upon the earth" (Gen. 1 :26). "But," 
James says, "nobody can tame the tongue - it is a pest that will not keep still, full of deadly 
poison" (James 3:8). Does that sound like the serpent? St. James continues: "We use it (the 
tongue) to bless the Lord and Father, but we also use it to curse men who are made in God's 
image: the blessing and the curse come out of the same mouth" (James 3:9) . There is a choice 
to make. Adam and Eve had a choice; Cain and Abel had a choice and we, too, have choices 
to make. We can make that good choice by the grace of God. 


In his final exhortation St. James reminds the faithful that the "Lord is kind and compas- 
sionate" (James 5:11). He advises the weak to "confess your sins to one another, and pray for 
one another, and this will cure you; the heartfelt prayer of a good man works very powerfully" 
(James 5:16). 

St. James closes his letter not with a blessing but with a final word of direction and 
encouragement. "My brothers, if one of you strays away from the truth, and another brings him 
back to it, he may be sure that anyone who can bring back a sinner from the wrong way that he 
has taken will be saving a soul from death and covering a great number of sins" (James 5:19- 
20). You are your brother's keeper and your sister's too! We are all children, in St. James' 
words, of "God otirFather" (James 1 :27). 

St. Peter and the Father 

St. Peter is Trinitarian in the greeting of his letter. His greeting also has the theme of 
being chosen, redeemed and sanctified. "Peter, apostle of Jesus Christ, sends greetings to ail 
those ... who have been chosen, by the provident purpose of God the Father, to be made holy 
by the Spirit, obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood. Grace and peace be with 
you more and more" (1 Pt. 1:1-2). For Peter, the Father is a provident Father. He knows what 
we need and provides for us. The Greek word, translated here as provident, is prognosis. It 
means foreknowledge, prescience; in the NT., previous determination, purpose. Its root word 
is the verb proginosko, which means to know beforehand, to be previously acquainted with; to 
determine on beforehand, to fore-ordain; in NT., from the Hebrew, to foreknow, to appoint as 
the subjects of future privileges. 54 

Following his greeting, Peter begins the letter proper with an exclamatory prayer of 
blessing. Excitable Peter is excited to give the message and his sentence is so long in the 
Greek text that the translators have broken it up into two sentences! I give the Revised 
Standard Version translation here because you can get the sense of the non-stop-speaking 
Peter. But keep in mind that there is only a comma and not an exclamation point in the Greek 
text making it all one sentence. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By 
his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus 
Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept 
in heaven for you, who by God's power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be 
revealed in the last time" (1 Pt. 1 :3-5). That was fifty-three words long in the Greek text! And 
sixty-seven in this Revised Standard Version! I wonder what his English or Greek teacher 
thinks! Peter is almost breathless in giving the message. It just flows out of him. 

Here we see that it is by the Father's great mercy that we are born anew, through the 
resurrection of his Son from the dead. As sons of God we have an inheritance waiting for us 
in the heavens. Our gaze must be directed heavenward, to our true home, where the Father 
waits for us. 

The Father knows all our thoughts, words and deeds. Peter tells us that It is according 
to our deeds that we will be judged by the Father. "If you are acknowledging as your Father one 
who has no favorites and judges everyone according to what he has done, you must be 
scrupulously careful as long as you are living away from your home" (1 Pt. 1:17). Peter almost 
sounds like a father writing to his son away at college. At that age one can make mistakes and 


get into mischief. Peter made mistakes too and experienced his own weaknesses. The Father 
foreknew that Peter would get himself into deep water (Mt. 14:30 ), and would deny his Son, 
Jesus. Peter, himself, had a sense of self-knowledge and cried out: "Depart from me, Lord, for 
I am a sinful man" (Lk. 5:8). Nevertheless Peter was a man "chosen and destined by God the 
Father" (1 Pt. 1 :2). Far from being rejected by God for his weaknesses he was reestablished 
as leader of the flock. And that came with a threefold confession of love. "Do you love me... 
yes, Lord... feed my sheep" (Jn. 21:17). So it is no wonder then that Peter, who received mercy 
as a son, in turn writes: "You have been given mercy" (1Pt. 2:10). We might say that St. Peter 
was born anew at his threefold profession of love. "Now that you have, by obeying the truth, 
made your souls clean enough for a genuine love of your fellows, see that you do love each 
other, fervently and from the heart. For you are not just mortals now but sons of God..." (1 Pt. 
1:22-23). 55 

St. Peter tells us that the Father "has no favorites" (1 Pt. 1:17). For the college student 
that might mean that it doesn't matter if you belong to this or that sorority, are the most popular 
student or come from a wealthy family. You are not a favorite with God the Father because of 
your clothes, your car or any position of fame or prestige. What the Father judges you by are 
your deeds. And so St. Peter directs: "Always behave honorably. that they can see your 
good works..." (1 Pt. 2:12). "Be sympathetic; love the brothers, have compassion and be self- 
effacing. Never pay back one wrong with another, or an angry word with another one; instead, 
pay back with a blessing. That is what you are called to do, so that you inherit a blessing 
yourself (1 Pt. 3:8-9). In the Bible the father's blessing went to the firstborn son. It was his 
inheritance. So to inherit a blessing from God the Father is to be someone very special. 

Read what St. Peter writes about Jesus, the Son of the Father, in his second letter. "He 
was honoured and glorified by God the Father, when the Sublime Glory itself spoke to him and 
said, This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour.' We heard this ourselves, spoken from 
heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain" (2 Pt. 1:17-18). What St. Matthew adds 
to this is the Father's advice: "Listen to him" (Mt. 17:5). To be beloved sons and daughters of 
God our Father, we do well to listen to Jesus and follow his lead. 

St. Jude and the Father 

St. Jude's letter is the shortest of all the epistles. His only mention of the Father is in the 
greeting of his letter. "From Jude, servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James; to those who 
are called, to those who are dear to God the Father and kept safe for Jesus Christ, wishing you 
all mercy and peace and love (Jude 1:1-2). 

St. Jude is the patron of hopeless cases. He had hoped to write "about the salvation 
that we all share." (Jude 1 :3). But says that "I have been forced to write to you now and appeal 
to you.... Certain people have infiltrated among you..." (Jude 1 :3-4). The bulk of his letter is a 
warning that they not be led astray. 

He closes his letter saying: "Glory be to him who can keep you from falling and bring you 
safe to his glorious presence, innocent and happy. To God, the only God, who saves us 
through Jesus Christ our Lord..." (Jude 1:24-25). It would seem that God here refers to the 
Father "who saves us through Jesus Christ." Because believers are so dear to God the Father, 


Jude was solicitous that they not lose the mercy, peace and love that the Father is always ready 
to extend to those who turn to him. 

A Last Glance at the Father 

In this study we have looked at the Father through the eyes of each evangelist. Each 
has something special to show us. If we look at each one as if he were the only one we had to 
tell us about the Father, how limited our view of the Father would be. But as it is, we have a 
kaleidoscope-view of the Father as seen in the New Testament. How rich and beautiful it is. 

St. Mark has shown us how Jesus called the Father "Abba" (Mk. 14:36), the equivalent 
of our "Daddy." St. Matthew tells us about "Our Father in heaven" (Mt. 6:9). " Your heavenly 
Father " is a forgiving Father (Mt. 6:14) and he "will reward you" (Mt. 6:18). St. Luke tells us that 
" your Father is compassionate" (Lk. 6:36) and that the Father promised to send the Holy Spirit 
(Lk. 24:49; Acts 1:4). St. John brought out Christ's oneness or union with the Father (Jn. 10: 
30, 38) and in St. John's gospel Jesus frequently says: " my Father " (Jn. 14: 20). St. Paul 
describes the Father as a gentle Father (2Cor. 1 :3). He also tells us that the Spirit makes us 
cry out: "Abba Father!" (Rom. 8: 15). The author of the letter to the Hebrews writes of "our 
spiritual Father" (Heb. 12:9) as one who disciplines us out of love. For St. James he is "the 
Father of all light" (James 1:17). St. Peter speaks of the Father as your Father , "who has no 
favorites but judges everyone according to what he has done" (2 Pt. 1:17). St. Jude, brief as 
he is, tells us that we are "dear to God the Father" (Jude 1). 

It is St. John who tells us that his Name is Father. "I have made your name known..." 
(Jn. 17:1 ,4-6). In St. Matthew's Gospel Jesus teaches the disciples to pray: "Our Father..." (Mt. 
6:9ff). St. Luke also gives us the Lord's prayer: "Father,..." (Lk. 11:2ff). Some of the evan- 
gelists specify what it is that makes us sons and daughters of God our Father. St. Matthew 
says: "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons 
of your Father in heaven" (Mt. 5:44). St. Luke has a rather detailed formula: "Love your 
enemies and do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who 
treat you badly.... Love your enemies and do good, and lend without any hope of return. You 
will have a great reward, and you will be sons of the Most High..." (Lk. 6:27,28,35). St. Paul tells 
us: "you are, all of you, sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. All baptized in Christ, you 
have all clothed yourselves in Christ,..." (Gal. 3:26-27). For St. John it is believing and loving 
that make us children of God. "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ has been begotten 
by God; and whoever loves the Father that begot him loves the child whom he begets. We 
can be sure that we love God's children if we love God himself and do what he has commanded 
us; this is what loving God is - keeping his commandments..." (1 Jn. 5:1-3). "My dear people, 
let us love one another since love comes from God and everyone who loves is begotten by God 
and knows God..." (1 Jn. 4:7). 

I can't help but think of Joseph of the Old Testament, the beloved of his father, who was 
given a coat of many colors. When he revealed himself to his brothers they were afraid but 
Joseph said: "Come closer to me...l am your brother.... God. ..has made me father..." (Gen. 
45:4, 5, 8). 


St. Matthew is the evangelist through whom Jesus tells us: "Anyone who does the will 
of my Father in h^&ven, he is my brother and sister and mother (Mt. 12:50). "Through him, 
(Christ) both of us have in the one Spirit our way to come to the Father" (Eph. 2:1 3, 14, 1 5-1 7). 
Come, come to the Father! Come closer. 



1. The bold/italic emphasis ("Father") throughout this paper indicates direct address by Jesus to the 
Father. In quoting from scripture texts using the word "Father," I will be using other coded styles 
for emphasis, explained as they occur. 

2. A double underline will be used in this paper within scripture quotes to emphasize the use of " his 
Father. " 

3. Bold type will be used in this paper within scripture quotes to emphasize the use of "the Father." 

4. A single underline will be used in this paper within scripture quotes to emphasize the use of " your 
Father " and a shadow effect will be used to emphasize "in heaven" or "heavenly" Father. 

5. The Six Version Parallel New Testament. Revised Standard Version. (Carol Stream: Creation House, 

6. Ibid. 

7. ibid. 

8. Ibid. 

9. Bold and underline will be used in this paper within scripture quotes to emphasize the use of my 

10. Bold, double underline and caps are used to emphasize the use of one Father but do not appear 
so in the scripture text. 

1 1 . Revised Standard Version. 

12. The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised. Ed. Harold K. Moulton (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub- 
lishing House, 1978), 2. 

13. William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, vol. 1 (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1975), 182. 

14. Barclay 183-185. 

15. A gray highlight emphasizes the use of "Our Father" within scripture quotes in this paper. 

16. The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised. Ed. Harold K. Moulton (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub- 
lishing House, 1978), 302. 

1 7. The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised 302. 

1 8. The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised 277. 

19. See Jerusalem Bible Matthew 16:27 footnote o. 

20. See Jerusalem Bible Matthew 25:34 footnote g. 

21. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Ed. Gerhard Kittel. Ed. and trans. Geoffrey W. 
Bromiley. 10 th ed., 10 vols. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979), vol. V, p. 159- 

22. Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place, 26 th printing (New York: Bantam Books, 1981), 238. Retold in 
Tramp for the Lord (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1974), pp. 55-57. 

23. See The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised, p. 302. 

24. See The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised, p. 96. 

25. Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming (New York, NY: Image 
Books, Doubleday, 1992). 

26. Revised Standard Version. 


27. Revised Standard Version translation. 

28. Catena Aurea. Commentary on the Four Gospels, collected out of the Works of the Fathers by St. 
Thomas Aquinas. Vol. IV. Part I. St. John (Albany: Preserving Christian Publications, Inc., 1993), 

29. Ibid. 

30. Ibid., 364. 

31. Catena Aurea, vol. IV. part I, 455-456. 

32. Ibid., 456-457. 

33. The Six Version Parallel New Testament. Phillips Modern English translation (Carol Stream: Creation 
House, 1974). 

34. Revised Standard Version. 

35. The Six Version Parallel New Testament. Living Bible translation (Carol Stream: Creation House, 

36. Catena Aurea, vol. IV, part I, 355. 

37. Ibid. 

38. See The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised, p. 422. 

39. See The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised, p. 284. 

40. See The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised, p. 263. 

41. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol. IX, p. 393, 394. 

42. Ibid., p. 395. 

43. Ibid., p. 396. 

44. 7??e Six Version Parallel New Testament. King James translation (Carol Stream: Creation House, 

45. See The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised, p. 273. 

46. King James translation. 

47. See The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised, p. 285. 

48. See The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised, p. 131. 

49. The Six Version Parallel New Testament. New English Bible translation (Carol Stream: Creation 
House, 1974). 

50. The Revised Standard Version translation. 

51. The New Revised Standard Version translation, 1990. 

52. The Revised Standard Version translation. 

53. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Three vols. (New York: Benziger Brothers, Inc., 1947), vol. 
I, q. 45 art. 6. 

54. See The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised, p. 342. 

55. Phillips Modern English translation. 


See What Love the Father Has! 

Sister Mary of the Sacred Heart, O.P. 

Marbury, AL 

During this final year of preparation for the Third Millennium, our thoughts have been 
dwelling on God our Father, Creator of heaven and earth - the first Principle from whom all 
things come and to whom all things return - and "whose unconditional love for every human 
creature is discovered anew each day." 1 We have sought then to apply this meditation to our 
own Dominican vocation. 

Trinitarian Love 

God created mankind out of love and in his own image and likeness. He gave them the 
task "to share together as ministers of God's omnipotence in the making of new immortal beings 
and to help them to grow up in God's likeness and lead them safely to God." 2 The Father 
established "Adam as priest and ruler over all creation" 3 and commissioned him to provide for 
his family. For this purpose man was given primacy in the order of knowledge (authority), which 
placed him in a state of holy liberty and enabled him to see all Creation in it's proper relationship 
with God. 4 Woman, on the other hand, was given primacy in the order of love, 5 which enabled 
her to be more attuned to the sense of unity in the human family. Eve, as the mother of the 
living, was to fulfill this office by teaching her children how to love and leading them to the love 
of the Father. 6 

By creating mankind in his own image and likeness and in the "unity of the two" God 
revealed to them not only their task to "exist mutually for each other" 7 but also their call to live 
in friendship with himself. God wished mankind to respond to his gift of himself to them with the 
free gift of themselves to God. By asking them not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good 
and evil, he wished to remind mankind that they were creatures and that they must be depend 
upon God their Creator, the source of all truth and goodness. 8 Thus they were asked to submit 
their intellects and wills to God in the "obedience of faith." 9 

Deceived by the "father of lies" however, Adam and Eve began to see God not as their 
Father but as an enemy. Succumbing to this temptation, Eve choose her own will over God's 
and brought evil into the world, 10 while Adam out of fear of death, put all his descendants into 
life long slavery to the one who has the power of death. 11 This act not only destroyed their 
communion with God, but their unity with each other. 

Despite their rejection of him, God did not turn his back on mankind. He continued to 
seek them out and to reveal himself to them, though in a veiled manner. When the time came 
for the Father to send his Son into the world, he established Christ as High Priest so that he 
could restore unity and dignity to creation. 12 It was the mission of Jesus to reveal to mankind 
the full mystery of the Father's love for them and his desire for union with them. He 
accomplished this and freed mankind from slavery by accepting death on the cross in 
obedience to and love for the Father. Since it was in the divine plan that this renewal of all 
creation should include the restoration of the original good - "the unity of the two" - the Father 
willed that Mary, the Mother of Christ, should cooperate fully in the mystery of redemption. 13 By 
offering their "obedience of faith" to the Father, Jesus and Mary were able to bring forth new 
children unto him. 


"When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished," 14 the 
Holy Spirit was sent upon the new-born Church. Being the bond of love between the Father and 
the Son, "the Holy Spirit is the one who brings about the continuation of their work." 15 He 
communicates to us the life that originates in the Father and is offered to us by the Son. To 
accomplish his mission of uniting us to the Son and thus making us in Christ the adopted sons 
of God, he must first convince us of the reality of sin, which destroys both unity between men 
and the inner harmony in man. After convincing man of his own sinfulness, the Holy Spirit then 
directs him toward what is good - to the source of goodness - the Father. Then we are enabled 
to cry out: Abba\ Fatheii and begin our journey back to him. 16 It is through the Holy Spirit that 
the Son always leads us back to the Father. Their missions are separate and distinct yet 
intimately joined together for the same end. 17 

"By sending his only Son and the Spirit of Love in the fullness of time, God has revealed 
his innermost secret: God himself is an eternal exchange of love...." 18 "In the order of love the 
Father is the primary principle and the last end.... The Father is rapt in love, and gives himself 
to the Son simultaneously as he begets him. And the Son is rapt in love and gives himself to 
his Father simultaneously as he is begotten.... Thus it is that the Holy Spirit, their common love, 
is the Gift that the Father and the Son give to each other - the breath of love that binds them 
to one another." 19 It is this "gift of one Person to the Other in total mutual openness" 20 that God 
calls all mankind to imitate and reflect. For this purpose God gives us the Holy Spirit, the first 
Gift, who possesses us. Through the Holy Spirit the Father gives us his Son, who takes flesh 
in us mystically. Together they form in us that aspiration to the Father which leads us back to 
him. This aspiration causes us to seek and choose only that which will please the Father. 21 

Marian Love 

In Mary we see this call fulfilled to perfection. Immersed in the Father's infinite love for 
herself and for all mankind and intimately united to the Holy Spirit as her Spouse, she freely 
offered the total gift of herself to the Father in order to accomplish his will. In exchange the 
Trinity gave itself completely to Mary. The Holy Spirit brought to her the divine fecundity of the 
Father and the Son descended into her womb and was made flesh. In her Magnificat, Mary 
"undoes the lies sown in the heart of Eve" and "boldly proclaims the undimmed truth about 
God." 22 

Our Lady's motherhood of all became ever more imbued with a burning charity for 
others and reached a "definite maturity on Calvary." 23 At the foot of the cross, Mary united the 
total gift of herself to her Son's total gift of himself to the Father and thus together they 
accomplished the "restoration of supernatural life to souls." 24 As the true Mother of all mankind, 
she "summons the faithful to her Son and his sacrifice and to the love of the Father." 25 There 
she continues to offer to us the "love which burst forth from the heart of Jesus dying on the 
Cross as he sent forth his Spirit." 26 It is through Mary that the Holy Spirit brings "men into 
communion with Christ." 27 

Dominican Apostolic Love 

From this Trinitarian mystery springs our own unique Dominican charism "to proclaim 
salvation in Jesus Christ, the gospel of the Father, to all mankind." 28 Entering into this 
mysterious exchange of love by contemplation, the Dominican strives to bring all other souls 
into Its embrace. Dominic - like to the Lord Jesus - was but one aspiration to the Father. As 
the Eternal Father told St. Catherine of Siena: "Dominic, My son by adoption, followed My Will 



in all things. ..and. ..preached to the world the truth of My words.... He took up the task of My 
Word, My only-begotten Son". ..and sought "only the glory and praise of My Name and the 
salvation of souls." It was through and with Mary that the Father sent Dominic "into the mystical 
body of the Church" 29 to continue undoing the lies sown in the heart of mankind by the "father 
of lies." 

We can see many ways in which St. Dominic was like Jesus. Just as Jesus spent his 
nights in prayer and his days in ^peaking only what the Father had given him to speak, so St. 
Dominic spent his nights in prayer and his days in speaking only "to God or of God." So 
impressed were Jesus disciples with his familiarity with his Father, that they asked him to teach 
them how to pray. Likewise we find some of St. Dominic's followers watching him in prayer that 
they may pray like him. As Jesus entrusted his small band of Apostles to his Mother before 
sending them out two by two, 30 so St Dominic sent forth his small band of men, two by two, on 
the feast of Mary's Assumption. Finally, just as Jesus associated his Mother with his work of 
redemption and entrusted the new-born Church to her care, so likewise St. Dominic associated 
the Nuns with his work of Holy Preaching and entrusted the continued growth of the new Order 
to their care. 

It is in the word associate that we find the heart of our Dominican vocation. To 
associate means to unite as companions. Blessed Hyacinth Cormier says that just as Adam 
had a helpmate in Eve, so St. Dominic saw the Nuns as his helpmates. 31 It would seem more 
accurate to say that Dominic had in mind the second Adam and the second Eve - Jesus and 
Mary. By uniting the gift of themselves through the Holy Spirit in "the original good, the 'unity 
of the two,'" Jesus and Mary carried out the work of the Father. Similarly it seems that this was 
the basis of St. Dominic's marvelous vision of an Order where men and women work together 
for the common goal of the salvation of souls. 

Dominic's ideal of the "union of hearts" 32 between the Friars and the Nuns can be seen 
in many of the stories of our early history. But it is Blessed Cecilia's story of St. Dominic and 
the wine that seems to best exemplify this. In this story Dominic had both the Brethren present 
with him, as well as the Nuns, drink freely from the same cup of wine that remained full no 
matter how much they drank from it. 33 Wine was often seen as a symbol of love since, like 
wine, it has the power to lift a person above the troubles of this world. By this example it seems 
that St. Dominic wished to impress upon all his children that they must drink freely from the 
same source of love in order that their family unity might flourish and grow. This source of love 
we know is found in the Eucharist and in the word, both of which the Friars provide for the Nuns. 
As Blessed Jordan later reminded the Nuns at St. Agnes, "Jesus the Bridegroom brings us into 
his wine cellar.... He is the bond whereby we are bound together.... Let us love one another in 
him and through him and for him. ,." 34 

In his Libellus, 35 Blessed Jordan describes how St. Dominic received the charism of the 
Apostolic preaching. Many times after a long, frustrating and seemingly fruitless day of work, 
he would return to the Monastery of Prouille for rest and to gain new courage and energy to 
continue. Surely there Dominic discovered that mysterious "relationship between the eager 
silence of the contemplative and the consoling word of the apostle." 36 Pondering on his own 
mission to continue the work of the Apostles, he must have reflected on the role of Our Lady 
in their work. 

On Pentecost, the Spirit of Love had implanted his contemplative activity in the souls 
of Mary and the Apostles. Mary received it and dwelt in the silence of love. The Apostles 
received it, left the Cenacle and began to speak. Therefore the life of prayer and the life of 


preaching come from the one, same source. 37 It was in this way that the missions of the Holy 
Spirit and of the Son were continued in the Church. In the same way, Dominic must have 
realized, the Order was to continue these missions. 

The Gift of Self in Love 

By accepting the Father's will in the 'obedience of faith' Dominicans offer the complete 
gift of themselves in a spousal love for Christ. The Holy Spirit then brings them the fecundity 
of the Father and the Word takes flesh in them mystically. When they reach maturity at the foot 
of the cross, the Father then sends upon them the Spirit who implants his contemplative activity 
in their souls and leads them into their mission of continuing the work of Mary and the Apostles. 

In order to carry out their mission both the Nuns and the Friars must contribute the 
complete gift of self which consists in that which is most essential to the nature of man and 
woman. In the natural order the complete gift of a man and woman is to each other in marriage. 
The fruit of this giving is the gift of a child. Thus fatherhood and motherhood are linked to the 
personal structure of mankind and to the personal dimension of the gift of themselves. 38 In the 
Gospel Jesus reveals a new, spiritual parenthood. There Christ teaches us in regard to the 
person's exclusive gift of themselves to God that "virginity becomes the principle of spiritual 
fatherhood and motherhood and transmits life not for a time but for all eternity." 39 

Fatherhood in the act of human generation is the means by which a man gives his own 
specific nature to the child he has begotten. In reality it is God the Father who is "the first Father 
of all that exists" and the one who gives man his true life. 40 For this purpose God began to 
establish with mankind in the Garden a covenant or family relationship. This Covenant was 
always mediated by a priest and renewed by sacrifice. Before God instituted the Aaronite 
priesthood, this priestly office was exercised by the father of the family and handed down to a 
son chosen by God (e.g. Isaac, Jacob, etc.) 41 The death of Jesus, the one true Priest, on the 
cross is a true act of fatherhood because it was in this way that he communicated our true 
spiritual life through the new Eve. 42 

Accepting the Father's call to the ministerial priesthood, the Friar becomes the living and 
transparent image of Christ the Priest and receives from it his "spiritual fatherhood for 
transmitting the life of grace to souls." 43 He imparts this life primarily through preaching and the 
administration of the sacraments. Entering into Christ's self-emptying by sacrificing his own 
thoughts, feelings, and words, the Friar, like Christ, will speak only the words given to him by 
the Father. This more perfect union with the Divine Logos 44 enables him to offer true worship 
to the Father and through the celebration of the Eucharist to restore to the Father the whole of 
creation. 45 Exercising his authority in the spirit of self-sacrifice as did the Good Shepherd, the 
Friar continually lays down his life for souls, sometimes even unto death. 

Accepting the cloister as the Father's choice for her, the Nun offers to him in response 
the gift of her virginity and thereby shares in Our Lady's spiritual motherhood of souls. Together 
with her she exists in a unique relationship with the Holy Spirit who makes her virginity fruitful. 
In the hidden silence of the cloister, the Nun offers up the sacrifices involved in the emptying 
herself of the natural desire to be useful and busy in order to sit at the feet of Jesus. Then 
Christ will be able to open up his heart and pour into her heart his burning desires for the 
salvation of souls. He will share with her a sense of responsibility for the weight of the sins of 
the world which he bore on the cross. By keeping her eyes always on the love of the Father 


and accepting with joy the events and problems of daily life, this "pouring out of herself will then 
become fruitful for the sake of others. 46 

"Keep high festival, and give thanks to the Giver of all good things, for the God of mercy 
and compassion has now been pleased to visit the earth and has plentifully watered it...." 47 
According to a beautiful legend, Our Lady told St. Dominic that his preaching was not bearing 
fruit because the ground was still dry and hard. First, she explained, the ground must be 
watered by, prayer, in particular the Angelic Salutation. 48 The first task of the Nuns then is to 
prepare souls to receive the seed of the word preached by their brothers. "Do not cease 
imploring the Holy Spirit to touch the hearts of our listeners," 49 Blessed Jordan frequently asked 
the Nuns. But their task does not end here because these same souls "must be powerfully 
helped, now and henceforth by your prayers." 50 Just as a mother must continue to nurture her 
child after it is born, so the Nuns by their prayers and holy life continue to nurture the new life 
of grace in souls. They "must join with Mary in throwing the mantle of her care over all the 
human family. ..and in bringing that family back to God." 51 

Supporting One Another in Love 

The fact that St. Dominic frequently brought the Friars with him on his visits to the Nuns 
leads us to think that he believed that direct contact with the Nuns would have a great influence 
on the brethren themselves. In the first place he knew from personal experience that "cloisters 
are in the first place a source of preaching by their silence...." He knew also the effects that 
contemplative souls had on the preacher himself - how their simple faith would "sustain his own, 
their thirst for truth would awaken and stimulate his mind." 52 

Secondly, if Dominic regarded the Nuns as "his helpmates" he must have realized that 
"women hold an essential place in the life of a priest. It is important that the priest should 
develop deep within himself the image of women as sisters... who by their selflessness" 53 "pour 
themselves out... for the sake of all people who are embraced by the love of Christ the 
Spouse." 54 As one of the early chroniclers of the Order tells us: "These handmaids of Christ.. .by 
the excellence of their lives... give an example to others...." 55 And Blessed Jordan writes to the 
Nuns: "The thought of you all rejoices my heart, beloved daughters, since I know how eagerly, 
in unity together, you walk with the Lord, seeking nothing save him in whom alone is your 
sufficiency...." 56 

"The mission of woman is not merely a passive, expiatory one, it is the active mission 
of the leadership of love.... It is the destiny of all those who share in Mary's vocation of spiritual 
motherhood... to form man by her active leadership into the likeness of Christ; to help him return 
to the source of love and knowledge.... The essence of the leadership of love is that she must 
be that in which God is revealed. It's essential method of teaching is not to expound, to reason, 
or to demonstrate to the mind...." Rather it is by her example of being God's handmaid and 
accepting all that God's wills, that she leads men to God. 57 

Furthermore, although woman "finds herself by giving love to others," 58 she is also the 
one who "makes man know himself more fully...." 59 This is because "woman's motherhood 
presents a special call and a special challenge to the man and his fatherhood." 60 Thus the 
example of the Nuns who devote themselves to the "one thing necessary" should incite the 
Friars to greater zeal in their apostolic work of "bringing forth to Christ and His Church, children 
of God destined for salvation." 61 


These three years of preparation spent in re-examining our own "lives and vocations in 
the light of the mystery of Redemption" 62 have fostered in us a profound sense of commitment 
to the ideals that St. Dominic has set before us. We pray especially that the grace of this 
Jubilee - "that the mystery of Redemption should become particularly present and fruitful" 63 in 
our own lives. Then we will truly become "an example to others, a joy to the angels, and 
pleasing to God." 64 



1. Pope John Paul II, Tertio Millennio Adviente, #49. 

2. Gerald Vann, O.P., Heart of Compassion, the Vocation of Woman Today (Manchester, NH: Sopia 
Institute Press, 1998), p. 50. 

3. Paul-Marie of the Cross, O.C.D., Spirituality of the Old Testament, Vol. 1 , (St. Louis: B. Herder Book 
Co., 1961), p. 7. 

4. Most Rev. Luis Martinez, The Sanctifier, Trans. Sr. M. Aquinas, O.S.U. (Boston: Pauline 
Books, 1985), pp. 172-1 73. 

5. Pope John Paul II, Mulieris Dignitatem, #29. 

6. Vann, Heart, p. 42. 

7. Mulieris Dignitatem, # 2. 

8. Pope John Paul II, Dominum et Vivificantem, #33-36. 

9. Catechism of the Catholic Church, #143. 

10. Vann, Heart, p. 42. 

11. Hebrews, 2:14-15. 

12. Ephesians, 1:9. 

13. Pope John Paul II, Mary's Cooperation in the Sacrifice, May 4, 1983. 

14. CCC, #767. 

15. CCC, #689. 

16. Cf. Dominum, #33-42. 

17. CCC, #737. 

18. CCC, #221. 

19. H.M. Manteau-Bonamy, OP, The Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit, trans. Bro. Richard 
Arnadez, FSC. (Paris: Editions P. Lethielleux, 1975), p. 28-32. 

20. Pope John Paul II, To Be Fully Human, April 30, 1995. 

21. Martinez, Sanctifier, p. 87. 

22. Mulieris Dignitatem, #1 1 . 

23. Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater, #23. 

24. Lumen Ge/rt/um, #61. 

25. Lumen Gentium, #65. 

26. Bonarny, Immaculate Conception, p. 97. 

27. CCC, #725. 

28. Pope John Paul II, Kindle the Torch of Christian Proclamation, November 24, 1994, #6. 

29. Blessed Raymond of Capua, O.P., The Life of St. Catherine of Siena, trans. George Lamb (NY: P.J. 
Kenedy and Sons, 1960), pp. 143-144. 


30. Cf. Mark 6:1-7. 

31. Norbert Georges, Blessed Diana and Blessed Jordan (Somerset, Ohio: The Rosary Press, 1933), 
p. 17. 

32. Gerald Vann, OP., To Heaven With Diana (NY: Pantheon Books, Inc., 1960), p. 38. 

33. Early Dominican Writings, Edited by Simon Tugwell, O.P. (Ramsey, NJ: Paulist Press, 1982), pp. 

34. Letters of Blessed Jordan, Trans. Gerald Vann, O.P. (New York, NY: Pantheon Books, Inc. 1960), 
#16,29, 3. 

35. Fabio Giardini, O.P., The Spirit of St. Dominic (n.p., 1998), pp. 65-66. 

36. Thomas Philippe, O.P., The Fire of Contemplation, Trans. & Edited by Sr. Verda Clare Doran, C.S.C. 
(NY: Alba House, 1981), p. 31. 

37. Philippe, Fire, p. 31. 

38. Mulieris, #18. Also cf. Pope John Paul II, The Theology of the Body (Boston: Pauline Books and 
Media, 1997), pp 281-284. 

39 Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, The Love of God and the Cross of Jesus, Vol. 1 (NY: B. Herder Book 
Co., 1947), pp. 349-350. 

40. Bonamy, Immaculate Conception, cf. pp. 14-16. 

41. Scott Hahn, The Book of Genesis; the Covenant as a Family Affair (W. Covina, CA: St.Joseph 
Communications, 1997). 

42. The Navarre Bible and Commentary, Hebrews (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1993), chap. 5, p. 90. 

43. Garrigou-Lagrange, The Love, p. 350. 

44. Fr. Feuillet, as quoted by Bonamy, The Immaculate Conception, p. 21. 

45. Pope John Paul II, Letter to Priests, Holy Thursday 1994. 

46. LCM, #1.11. 

47. Letters, #4. 

48. Gabriel Harty, O.P., The Riches of the Rosary (Dublin: Veritas Publications, 1997), p. 19. 

49. Letters of Blessed Jordan, # 8. 

50. Letters, # 44. 

51. Vann, Heart, p. 59. 

52. Phillipe, Fire, p. 30. 

53. Pope John Paul II, The Importance of Women in the Priest's Life, April 12, 1995. #5 & 6. 

54. Mulieris, #20. 

55. Early Dominican, pp. 389-390. 

56. Letters, #27. 

57. Vann, Heart, pp. 98-103. 

58. Mulieris, #30 

59. Fr. Feuillet, Immaculate Conception, p. 21. 

60. Mulieris, #19. 

61. Giardini, The Spirit, pp. 78-80. 

62. Pope John Paul II, Year of Renewal, March 27, 1983. 

63. Year of Renewal. 

64. LCM, #1. VI. 



for the First Sunday of Advent (A) 

Sr. Mary of the Savior, OP. 
Farmington Hills, Ml 

Advent! So much to think about! 

If there is a predominant word, a predominant idea and image in this season just 
beginning, it is: COMING. One who is coming. "The King is coming, and with Him all 
His saints." 

That is just the reverse of a prominent image in the readings from Luke which we have 
been doing lately: the image of "the journey," the GOING-AWAY. That theme was 
operative in the passage we were reading the last time I presided at the Divine Office: 
even the meal with Martha and Mary was just a moment of rest from the road for a man 
who is going away - a man who has just talked exodus on the mountain with the elders 
and who is now on the road, going up to Jerusalem, going away. 

Any of us might well say that a strong thread in our community experience, this past 
year, has been departures, goings-away. Going away in death (four deaths!), going 
away in transfer, going away in volunteering for a Foundation. Even a blessed return 
pointed to the going-away that underlay it. Going away for retreat, for study. The going- 
away of chaplains, including temporary ones quickly become beloved. And we have 
accompanied in our hearts the nuns of Nicaragua who, because of hurricane floods, are 
on the verge of going away from their neighbors of a dozen years in Leon. 

We have had ample, insistent invitation to ponder the reality, the experience, of 
departure. So, on our way into Advent, with its insistence on COME, can we still ask: 
What is this contrary experience of going away? What is its "voice"? What does it tell 
us about ourselves and about God? 

You know the answer that is already present in your own contemplative awareness. 
What I can do is point out the insistent question, as I have just been doing, and go on 
to share an answer that has been forming for me. 

Suppose we focus for a minute on some vivid image of going-away. Say, a human 
figure half-turned. Either: standing facing us, but with the head, the gaze, the attention, 
already turned away, already going from us. Or: the whole body already going away, 
but just now turning back with head and shoulders, to catch a last glimpse of the place 
s/he has already left. 


A poet helps us to catch that image perfectly: 







- foilke, Duino Elegy 8 

I have asked myself often throughout the past year: What light does the Gospel shine 
on the fact that we seem to "live / forever saying farewell"? The image the poet evoked 
for us so powerfully - that figure half turned away - can it become for us an icon, a 
sacred image? 

For me, the answer is yes. It is the basic stance of Jesus to be turned toward the 
Father. It is for this reason, it is toward this "place" that is the Father, that he is going 

Decades ago my attention was called to the surprising fact that the "De profundis," ("Out 
of the depths....") is one of the psalms of Christmas-Day Vespers. Hear it as a prayer 
of Jesus to the Father: "Out of the depths of my man experience, I cry to you, my 
God... .Lord, hear my voice." Jesus, to the Father: "As the watchman watches in the 
night for dawn, so do I watch for you." One day, Jesus will give a last look at this valley 
of ours which he is leaving. Luke, evangelist of Jesus' journey, of his going-away, is 
also evangelist of the Ascension. 

What I am suggesting is that all our painful experiences of departures, of persons' going 
away, not only image our "exile from the heavenly homeland" (as we are likely to say) 
but can also be for us icons of God: icons in which the Son is in a sense always going 
away because he is turned toward the Father who dwells in light inaccessible. 

But what of Advent, then? 

Well, it is the coming of the Lord - and the "second coming" of the Lord Jesus - that we 
now propose to celebrate: Jesus coming straight toward us, with all his saints. Look! No 
longer turned away, but coming straight and fully toward us! Like a Byzantine icon! 
Turned straight toward us! 

No longer, then, is Jesus turned toward the Father, in the Spirit? Yes, he is fully turned 
toward the Father. And toward us. Because that is where the Father is: with us in our 
valley. We catch our breath as we realize: Father and Spirit never left our valley, as 
Jesus in the poignancy of his humanness had to do. "The Kingdom of God is within 


We are taught about this coming-straight-toward-us of Jesus, by the icon that is each 
going-away that we endure. 

But we are telling ourselves stories, and looking at picture books, about comings and 
goings - aren't we? - to help us with the ultimate mystery of Divine Presence. 

In actuality, the Second Coming will be when we and all our dear ones - along with all 
our hostile or unknown ones - know that the Son is always fully turned toward the 
Father and fully turned toward us. When we know that fully, then the Kingdom will have 
come "in majesty and power," and in sweetness and in oh! what light! - the light of 


God encompasses us. 

And always has. 
And always will. 

Blessed Advent! 

November 28, 1998+ 




Sr. Mary Regina 
Lufkin, TX 

For if eternity and time are rightly distinguished by this, that time does not exist 
without some movement and transition, while in eternity there is no change, who 
does not see that there could have been no time had not some creature been 
made, which by some motion could give birth to change - the various parts of 
which motion and change, as they cannot be simultaneous, succeed one 
another and thus, in these shorter or, longer intervals of duration, time would 

St. Augustine, The City of God, 11,6 

When did time begin and how was it measured since there were no clocks to tick? St. Thomas 
answers that God simultaneously created time together with three other entities, in this way: 

• the spiritual or empyrean heaven, [i.e. the abode of the blessed, angels and 

• corporeal matter, by which is meant the earth, 

• time, 

• and the angelic nature.'* 

According to St Thomas the passage from Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created heaven 
and earth," dispels three false notions: 

The first, held by the Platonic school, stated that "the world always was, and time had 
no beginning" [or end]. But Genesis records, '"In the beginning... 1 - viz., of time." 

The second error held that there were two principles of creation, one of good things the 
other of evil things. Against this, '"In the beginning' is expounded - in the Son." To this, St. 
Thomas adds that God the Father is the efficient principle of creation by reason of power, and 
the Son is the exemplar principal by reason of wisdom. "Thou hast made all things in wisdom." 
(Ps. 103:24). 

A third error consisted in the concept that God created corporeal things through the 
medium of spiritual creatures such as angels. But divine revelation holds that, "'In the 
beginning' - i.e., before all things - 'God created... heaven and earth'." It is amazing that these 
three errors are still popular in modern thought. 2 

If "time is the measure of movement," 3 as it is, what movement does it measure? What is its 
essence? These questions have boggled the minds of great men in every century and walk of 
life. St. Augustine wrote: 

What is time...? I do not know. But at any rate this much I dare affirm that I 
know: that if nothing passed there would be no past time; if nothing were 
approaching, there would be no future time; if nothing were, there would be no 
present time. [And he adds:] Time takes no holiday. 

St. Augustine, Confessions 4, 8, 11, 14 


Shakespeare often made reference to time in his plays, "Time is out of joint," in Hamlet; or "O, 
call back yesterday, bid time return," in Richard II. Benjamin Franklin recommends, "Do not 
squander time for that is the stuff life is made of." From Omar Khayyam come these words of 
wisdom, "The bird of time has but a little way to flutter - and the bird is on the wing." 

Time is one of the world's deepest mysteries. No one can say exactly what it is. Yet, the ability 
to measure time makes our way of life possible. Our reason can only judge what we see, hear 
and feel, in other words, what we can study through the information our senses give us. This 
can be deceptive due to our limited reasoning powers. St. Thomas holds that faith is needed 
to ponder natural mysteries correctly. For example, reason cannot prove that creation had a 
beginning or will have an end, though it tries to do so in the realm of science. It is a divinely 
revealed truth that God created the universe and is governing it to a final end. God gives time 
a purpose, a reason for being. 

Time can be compared to a pyramid with Jesus Christ at the pinnacle. All of time, past, present 
and future flows down from Christ and returns to him. He is the purpose of creation and he is 
the Word made flesh. He is the fullness of Time. Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of 
the Holy Spirit, all glory and honoris yours, almighty Father, forever and ever. Amen. 

Try to imagine yourself in a world without time. Such a timeless world would be at a standstill. 
Would there be some alternative? Yes. St. Thomas calls this alternative eternity . Eternity has 
no beginning or end, it is interminable, and it has no succession, being simultaneously whole. 
"God is His own Eternity." 4 

St. Thomas defines time as "the numbering of movement by before and after." 5 That definition 
sounds too simple, doesn't it? 

St. Thomas explains time as numbered in this way: the number of "time is one only.... The true 
reason why time is one, is to be found in the oneness of the first movement by which, since it 
is the most simple, all other movements are measured." 6 A good example of this, among many, 
is the fact that we number a day by 24 one hour periods or 24 hours.] 

St. Thomas gives importance to what kinds of things can be measured by time. The being of 
things corruptible, because it is changeable, is not measured by eternity but by time. There is 
also a kind of time that measures the movement of incorruptible beings, such as angels and the 
souls of people. It is simple, but complicated! 

St. Thomas holds that there are two kinds of time: continuous and non-continuous. An example 
of continuous time is that of a nun saying the Divine Office or a person walking down the road, 
and so on. Change in corruptible (corporal) beings is the basis of continuous time. 

But angels and human souls are above the change implied in corruptible beings. Are they 
subject to only one kind of time? St. Thomas states that both angels and human souls are 
subject to both continuous time and non-continuous time because they are both creatures and 
not eternal as is God. He explains it this way: 

In every change there is a before and after. Now the before and after of 
movement is reckoned by time, ... since there is a before and after in it... An 
angel is above that time which is the measure of the movement of the heavens 


[i.e. the solar system], because he is above every movement of a corporeal 
nature. Nevertheless, the angel is not above the time which is the measure of 
the succession of his existence after his non-existence, and which is also the 
measure of the succession which is in his operations [acts]. Hence, Augustine 
says that God moves the spiritual creature according to time. 7 

"The [human] intellect is above that time which is the measure of the movement of corporeal 
things." But it cannot know everything at one time. Only God can see all things at the same 
time. The human mind sees many things in relation to a whole imperfectly or a specific part of 
a whole. (Example: when we look at a forest we see trees but if we focus on one tree in that 
forest we do not see trees but one tree. God sees the forest and each individual tree in it at the 
same time.) 8 

St. Thomas points out an interesting difference between eternity, asvitemity, and time. 

The being that is measured by eternity [God] is not changeable, nor is it annexed 
to change. ...Time has before and after [=change]; asvitemity in itself has no 
before and after, which can, however be annexed to it; while eternity has neither 
before nor after, nor is it compatible with such at all. 9 

St. Thomas has some very interesting remarks about aevitemity. He makes these important 
distinctions: "/Evitemity differs from time, and from eternity, as the mean between them both...." 
"Eternity [God] is simultaneously whole [and unchangeable]...." /Eviternity is created but not 
subject to time. It has "a beginning but no end." It is the abode of angels and souls of the 
blessed "...who have unchangeable being as regards their nature with changeableness as 
regards choice; moreover, they have changeableness of intelligence, of affections and of places 
in their own degree." Time is created and is "the measure of movement," the measure "of the 
being of things corruptible." It has before and after. This kind of time will end with the end of 
the world. 10 

The word asviternity was not coined by St. Thomas and its origin is uncertain. In the Latin 
dictionaries, aetas is a contraction from aevitas which means age. Aevites is an old form of 
aatas. /Eternitas means eternity. /Eternus is an adjective meaning eternal, immortal, 
everlasting. The contraction aaviternity would mean an eternity that is created, having a 
beginning but no end. 

Have you ever thought about how important the quantum of time we call an instant has been 
in your life? Your soul was created and united to your body in an instant. At Baptism, you were 
sanctified in an instant. Any act of your will for good or evil is done in an instant. At death, your 
soul will leave your body in an instant. Judgment will take place in an instant. At the 
resurrection your soul will be reunited to your body in an instant. What, then, is an instant? 

An instant is an infinitesimal unit of time. St. Thomas states that the change of bread and wine 
into the Body and Blood of Jesus is effected in an instant. This is because it is effected by a 
Power which is Infinite, to which it belongs to operate in an instant. 11 

[As for an instant in time as we know it, St. Thomas holds that] the measure of 
the first movement of the heavens [creation] is the measure of all movement.... 


[He cites that some, like St. Albert the Great and St. Bonaventure] do not grant 
simply that there is a mid-time between every two instants. For they say that this 
is true of two instants referring to the same movement, but not if they refer to 
different things. Hence between the instant that marks the close of rest, and 
another which marks the beginning of movement, there is no mid-time. But in 
this they are mistaken, because the unity of time and of instant, or even their 
plurality, is not taken according to movements of any sort, but according to the 
first movement of the heavens, which is the measure of all movement and rest. 
12 [Since rest precedes movement or ends movement, the essence of an instant 
is rest. 13 ] 

This may seem puzzling. How can an act that brings a movement of deliberation to an end be 
rest? On the seventh day God rested from all his works = act of creation. We pray, "Eternal 
rest grant to them, O Lord." We are asking that the faithful departed be given the beatific vision, 
which is an act of eternal adoration or perfect rest. 

God Himself will be the goal of our desires; we shall contemplate Him without 
end, love Him without surfeit, praise Him without weariness. This gift, this state, 
this act, like eternal life itself, will assuredly be common to all. 

St. Augustine, The City of God, 22,30. 

In defining duration, St. Thomas states that, "Two things must be considered in time: time itself, 
which is succession; and the now of time which is imperfect." 14 He quotes Boethius as saying, 
"The now that flows away makes time; the now that stands still makes eternity." 15 St. Thomas 
further illustrates: 

The now of time is the same as regards its subject in the whole course of time, 
but it differs in aspect; for inasmuch as time corresponds to movement; its now 
corresponds to what is moveable; and the thing moveable has the same one 
subject in all time, but differs in aspect as being here and there; and such 
alteration is movement. Likewise the flow of the now as alternating in aspect, is 
time. But eternity remains the same according to both subject and aspect; and 
hence eternity is not the same as the now of time. 16 

St. Thomas asks, Whether a name can be given God? 

Since. ..words are the signs of ideas, and ideas the similitude of things,... we can 
give a name to anything in so far as we can understand it. Now... in this life we 
cannot see the essence of God; but we know God from creatures as their 
principle, and also by way of excellence.... In this way therefore He can be 
named.... As some things are said of God in a concrete sense, to signify His 
subsistence and perfection, so likewise nouns are applied to God signifying 
substance with quality. Further, verbs and participles which signify time, are 
applied to Him because His eternity includes all time. For... we can understand 
and express simple eternity only by way of temporal things, because our intellect 
has a natural affinity to. ..temporal things. 17 


In Question 85, the time process of human thought is defined as taking time [as we all 


Composition and division of the intellect are made by differentiating and 
comparing [implying past, present and future time]. Hence the intellect knows 
many things by composition and division, as by knowing the difference and 
comparison of things.... Although the intellect abstracts from the phantasms 
[material images], it does not understand actually without turning to the 
phantasms.... And forasmuch as it turns to the phantasms, composition and 
division of the intellect involve time. 18 

Will time ever end? Yes and no. Yes, time that is measured by the movement of the corporal 

universe as we now see it with our eyes, will end. No, time in heaven will never end but it will 

be an altogether different kind of time. Like the angels, glorified saints will move about as they 

will. The important point is an act of the will. This is part of the mystery of the gift of agility. 

As for time as we now experience it St. Thomas says this: 

There are three opinions touching this question. The first is of the philosophers 
who assert that the movement of the heavens will last forever [Platonic school]. 
But this is not in keeping with our faith.... Others say that the movement of the 
heavens will cease naturally [Aristotelian school]. But this again is false.... 
Hence, we must agree with others who say that the movement of the heavens 
will cease at this renewal of the world, not indeed by any natural cause, but as 
a result of the will of God. 19 

The world will come to an end by no created cause, even as it derived its 
existence immediately from God. 20 

Our new Catechism of the Catholic Church states: 

Nothing exists that does not owe its existence to God the creator. The world 
began when God's word drew it out of nothingness; all existent beings, all of 
nature and all of human history are rooted in this primordial event, the very 
genesis by which the world was constituted and time began. 21 

The subject of aeviternity must surface here at the end of time as regards purgatory and hell. 
St. Thomas ascribes asviternity only to the blessed, that is heaven. Purgatory is for the souls 
of people who need a further cleansing after death before they receive eternal beatitude. They 
are subject to a different kind of time but neither St. Thomas nor the church defines this time 
other than it is not eternal. St. Thomas defines the duration of hell as eternal time 22 Both St. 
Thomas and the Catechism of the Catholic Church agree that there is a purgatory, that it is real, 
that it will end. With the Church St. Thomas holds that there is a hell that it is the abode of the 
dammed, both angels and people, and that its duration is eternal. Beyond this, there are 
unanswered questions that it is wise to leave to theologians to debate in the light of Church 

Time in heaven? St. Thomas holds that after the resurrection and the renewal of the entire 
universe there will be a kind of time in heaven. For the whole person, body and soul, will be 
able to move through the universe at will without turning from the face to face vision of God; just 
as the angels who minister to us now always behold the face of the Father in heaven. This kind 
of time is a mystery to us now. 23 


The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say: 

The visible universe, then, is itself destined to be transformed," so that the world 
itself, restored to its original state, facing no further obstacles, should be at the 
service of the just," sharing their glorification in the risen Jesus Christ. 24 

We know neither the moment of the consummation of the earth and of man, nor 
the way in which the universe will be transformed. The form of this world, 
distorted by sin, is passing away, and we are taught that God is preparing a new 
dwelling and a new earth in which righteousness dwells, in which happiness will 
fill and surpass all the desires of peace arising in the hearts of men. 25 




Thomas Aquinas, O.P., Summa Theologia (Benziger Brothers, Inc., New York, 1947), I, q. 46, a. 3, 

p . 244. 

ST. I, q. 46, On the contrary, p. 244. 

ST. I, q. 10, a. 4, p. 42. 

ST. I, q. 10, a. 2, p. 41. Emphasis mine. 

ST. I, q. 10, a. 1, p. 40. 

ST. I, q. 10, a. 6, p. 44. Emphasis mine. 

ST. I, q. 53, a. 3, p. 272, I, q. 61, a. 2, p. 302. First emphasis mine. 

Cf. ST. I, q. 85, a. 4, p. 437. 

ST. I, q.10, a.5, p. 43. 

ST. I, q. 10, a. 4, 5, 6, pp. 42-45. 

ST. II, q. 75, a. 7, p. 2451. 

ST. II, q. 75, a. 7, p. 2451. 

13 Cf. ST. I, q. 53, a. 3, p. 272. "It is the nature of rest that the subject in repose be not otherwise." 

14 ST. I, q. 10, a. 1, p. 40. 

15 ST. I, q. 10, a. 2, Obj. 1, p. 41. Cf. Boethius, De Trin. iv. Emphasis mine. 

16 ST. I, q. 10, a. 4, p. 43. 

17 ST. I, q. 13, a. 1, p. 60. 

18 ST. I, q. 85, a. 5, p. 437. 

19 ST. Ill, q. 91, a. 2, p. 2951. 

20 ST. Ill, q. 88, a. 3, p. 2937. 

21 Catechism of the Catholic Church #338. Cf. St. Augustine, De Genesi adv. Man. 1,2,4: PL 34, 175. 

22 ST. I, q. 10, a. 3, Reply obj. 2, p. 42: "The fire of hell is called eternal, only because it never ends.... 
In hell, true eternity does not exist, but rather time...." 

23 Cf. ST. Ill, q. 84, a. 1, 2, 3, pp. 2919-2924. 

24 Catechism of the Catholic Church #1047. St. Ireneus, Adv. Haeres. 5,32,1: PG 7/2, 210. 

25 Catechism, #1048. Gaudium et Spes 39, § 1 . 


Do Not Be Afraid 

Facing the Millennium with Trust 

Sr. Mary of the Eucharist, O.P. 
West Springfield, MA 

The simple expression, "Do not be afraid" has been used by men, angels and the 
Savior himself. The present Holy Father started his pontificate with the words, "Do not 
be afraid," 1 and has uttered these words often during his reign. Having been urged 
repeatedly notto fear, especially as the millennium approaches, it would seem profitable 
for us to pause and consider why such an injunction should be recommended to us, and 
why we need to trust. There are many reasons for being afraid, and multiple factors that 
can contribute to that fear. I would like to concentrate on the aspect of fear that keeps 
us from being fully open to and accepting of the truth. 

Truth can be delightful and uplifting for us, but it can also seem terrifying and 
frightful. When we sense pain in the revealing light of truth, we tend to fear it. This type 
of fear can be likened to a covering that we use to shield us from what we cannot bear 
to see. Yet, truth is not meant to harm us. It is meant to be the source of our joy and 
peace. As we do not realize how we resist the full exposure to truth, we do well to 
consider some of the methods we employ. 

It all began in the Garden. When reading about Adam and Eve, we almost 
become envious at seeing how freely they spoke with God as they walked with him in 
the cool of the evening. For them, truth was obvious, approachable and acceptable. 
Then came the temptation and the fall. Genesis states that "the eyes of both of them 
were opened and they realized that they were naked." (Gen. 3:7) Even though this is 
usually interpreted to mean that Adam and Eve saw themselves in a new light, I would 
like to make another suggestion. I think it also means that they no longer could accept 
the full "naked" truth about themselves. By sewing fig leaves together, they attempted 
to cover up that unendurable nakedness. When God came to them in the evening, they 
hid because they were "afraid." How is it they are now afraid of him? They had walked 
with God and talked with him and had seen him face to face. Had God changed? Or 
had they? Truth was no longer totally acceptable to them, and they were afraid. Afraid 
of what? They were afraid of owning up to their transgression, of taking full 
responsibility for their own action. In response to God's question of "Why," they each 
in turn excused their disobedience and put the blame on someone or something else. 
The truth was now too much for them. "I was afraid because I was naked," Adam said. 
The truth was that he was afraid because he had transgressed and offended God, and 
he had not the courage to admit it. The "naked" truth about himself had become too 
frightening to be approachable, so he took fig leaves, sewed them together, and tried 
to hide behind them. 

We do much the same, except that the fig leaves we use to cover over the truth 
do little more than deceive us. As we know, fig leaves do not have the ability to conceal 


anything. If they had, God would not have replaced them with leather garments (see 
Gen. 3:21 ). Our fear would not do us so much harm if it were not for this deception. It 
is interesting to note that when the angel Gabriel came to Mary (Lk.1 :30) and she was 
"afraid," Photius (Patriarch of Constantinople, 858) says that her fear was one of being 
deceived. The Angel's reply, according to him, was to assure Mary, as if he said, "I 
came not to deceive you, but deliver from deception." 2 Covered truth is nothing less 
than deception. Strangely enough, such attempts are often obvious to others. We only 
are deceived. To the degree that we are, we shall be unable to experience true 

Jesus tells us, "the truth will set you free" (Jn.8:32). For us, freedom means 
peace, and peace means a true experience of God. To cover up truth by even a small 
amount of "fig leaves" is to deprive our souls of the peace that freedom would bring. 
This is why it is necessary to recognize our areas of fear, and to work at overcoming 
them. Instead of seeing truth as a frightful exposure, it should be looked upon as the 
"pearl of great price," the price of our peace. 

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus opens his instructions with the words, 
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven." In the Hebrew, the 
word used for poor is anawin, and it means "those who are without possessions and 
whose confidence is in God." To overcome our fear, we need to be poor in spirit, to be 
naked before God. Our possessions can be likened to so many fig leaves that may 
keep us comfortable, but may also keep the truth hidden from our spiritual eyes. To be 
naked before God in our poverty of spirit is to be fully open to the truth about ourselves, 
with all that is beautiful in us and all that is not beautiful. It is accepting our gifts and our 
faults, without pretense or excuse. 

In the Garden of Eden, God already knew the truth about Adam and Eve's 
disobedience. So, too, does he know the complete truth about us. We are the ones 
who need enlightening. In the Gospel Jesus speaks about fear and explains to us that 
"there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, and hidden, that shall not be 
known." (Mt. 10:26). In like manner, Joseph "fears" to take Mary as his wife (Mt.1:20). 
Pseudo-Chrysostom, in commenting on these words, remarks that God sent his angel 
to reassure Joseph in his fear because "God wanted to show Joseph that he knew the 
heart." 3 If God knows our heart, then we are safe in remaining naked and open before 
him and his truth. 

Our fear in accepting truth is connected with the pain that accompanies it. That 
may be because we think of our sufferings and trials as a casting down, a breaking of 
our spirits, a cause for sorrow. Yet, Jesus' attitude toward it would seem quite different, 
for when Jesus spoke of his own pain and suffering, he likened it to being "lifted 
up"(Jn. 12:32), not of being cast down. If we could remember that pain can be a lifting 
up, a drawing up of all things to Jesus, then the pain involved in the acceptance of truth 
would not be so frightening. It would be precious and of great value. 


Another thought about our pain is to remember we never suffer pain alone. 
When Jesus came walking across the water toward his apostles one night, his response 
to their outcry of fear was, "It is I, do not be afraid" (Mk.6:50). The NAB notes that this 
phrase translated literally really reads: "I AM!" as used in Ex.3: 14; ls.41:4;10:14; 
43:1-3.10,13. Here is the means for overcoming our fear. Our God is a God who is 
"with us" (Is. 7: 14). If he is with us, it is certain he watches over us. In commenting on 
Mark 6:50, Chrysostom says, "As soon then, as they knew Him by His voice, their fear 
left them." 4 Once they knew he was with them, they no longer were afraid. Fear that 
is shared is not so overwhelming, and fear shared with God loses it power. That is why 
we trust. God, who knows us fully, is near us to help us. 

Our trust will not be in vain. For as Jesus likens the kingdom of heaven to a 
treasure buried in a field (Mt.13:44), we can liken our search for truth as seeking that 
buried treasure. To possess truth we must sell "all" that we have. That means we 
cannot keep even a few of our treasured fig leaves. We must "sell," that is, give up our 
coverings completely. Then, when we have forgone any vestige of deception, God 
himself will clothe us. For when Adam and Eve left the garden, God did not simply 
deprive them of their precious covering. He supplied leather garments for them, 
something that would really protect them from harm. He is prepared to care for us in the 
same way. 

As Isaiah told Ahaz: "Take care you remain tranquil and do not fear; let not your 
courage fail" (Is. 7:4). We need to have courage in accepting truth. For John reminds 
us that, "whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly 
seen as done in God" (Jn.3:21), clearly seen, seen openly and in the light, seen 
because it is not being covered by "fig leaves." Our attempt to cover ourselves is not 
only a deception, but a dismal failure. Our struggle to avoid pain inevitably ends up 
increasing it. The truth is frightening at times, as is the vision of God. That is why we 
need so to trust in him. 

In preparation for the Millennium, John Paul II wrote concerning the mistakes the 
Church has made in the past: "Acknowledging the weaknesses of the past is an act of 
honesty and courage which helps us to strengthen our faith, which alerts us to face 
today's temptation and challenges and prepares us to meet them." 5 We, too, are 
tempted in our own garden. We, too, have an opportunity to meet and speak with God 
in our challenges and in the call he makes to us. This is a prime example of admitting 
the truth in viewing the Church's history. It is something we likewise should do to 
prepare for the Millennium ourselves. 

Truth is like a light, revealing what is. We need not struggle to cover our sins, 
faults or true selves with our feeble and crumbly fig leaves. Not only will God pour down 
the light of truth upon us, he himself will clothe us. Seeing our pain in accepting the 
truth, "he will wipe every tear away" (Rev. 21:4), and will make "all things new" (Rev. 
21:5). He will give us a new garment, one "washed in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 
7:14). This is the reason we need to overcome our fear, that we may seek the fullness 
of truth, despite the pain it gives. In discovering the truth about ourselves, we are freed 


by that truth, and made new. The Millennium is the dawning of a new era. If we do not 
hide from the truth, we can walk with God in spirit in the "cool of the evening" (Gen. 3:8). 
For he is the Truth. Therefore, we need not be afraid. We need only trust in him. 



1. John Paul II, Crossing The Threshold of Hope (New York: Alfred A. Knopf 1994), p. 4. 

2. St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Volume III, Part I, St. Luke (Preserving Christian Publications, Inc. 
1993), p. 28. 

3. Ibid., Volume I, Part I, St. Matthew, p. 48. 

4. Ibid., Volume II, St. Mark, p. 127. 

5. John Paul II, Tertio Millennio Adveniente, Nov. 14, 1994, #33. 



Sr. Mary of the Savior, O.P. 
Farmington Hills, Ml 

Suppose that we have just entered a theater (if we can go back in memory to that kind 
of experience), and we are settling down to study the playbill an usher has handed us. Or we 
have just entered our common room and have been given the program for a creation by our 
monastery theater artists to celebrate some event or feast-day. 

What do we see on the paper in our hands that will orient us to the presentation about 
to take place "on stage" before us? Where are we supposed to be, in time and space?, we ask. 

In like fashion, approaching the little 1996 book of Fr. George Tavard, entitled Trina 
Dejtas, 1 we ask: to what time and space are we going? What would the playbill need to say? 
Perhaps something like this: 

The place: Carolingian Francia; that is, the kingdom of the Franks in the time of the Carolingian 
line of kings. We should think of "middle" Europe - what we know as Germany/France. 

The time of the action: The ninth century of the Christian era, with a sharp focus on the year 
849 a.d. 

In this territory and time what do we recognize, from our history schoolbooks? The 
name of Charlemagne, surely: Charles the Great/Carolus Magnus/ Charlemagne; King of the 
Franks, crowned Emperor of Rome by a Pope whose name we won't remember, 2 crowned on 
Christmas Day in the year 800 A.D.. His sons will have succeeded him in power by our key 
date of 849. 

The actors in the drama: 3 

What names do we recognize among them? 

Possibly, Alcuin - a monk imported from England to become the great light of 
Charlemagne's court school. Possibly, John the Scot - Johannes Scotus 4 - the Irish monk who 
knew Greek, did Latin theology and made Pseudo-Dionysius accessible to all of us (18-19). 

And what else in the milieu will be familiar? We will recognize, from our Dominican 
history, an activity called monastic theology, and know that with the founding of the court and 
cathedral schools, universities are on the way. What we probably won't expect of "monastic 
theology" in the period considered in this book, is its fierce argumentation; as Fr. Tavard points 
out (19), it was not at all in the serene style of the monastic theology of the eleventh and twelfth 

With the help of a few reminders, we may be expecting that in Church matters the 
Franks and the Greeks are a pair in tension and that in the period of our "play" we are close 
to the roots of Roman Catholic/Orthodox divisions. 


Nicaea II, and its preoccupation with icons, may be familiar territory for us. What else 
do we already know about the context of our players? The Book of Kells, certainly (140). 
Another dimension is sketched in by noticing that it was in a Viking raid that one of our 
protagonists died. 5 

But probably we are do not recognize as familiar, in the program before us, the names 
of the chief actors: Hincmar and Gottschalk. (There is just a chance that If we have worked 
a little in the history of doctrine, we may have met Gottschalk in Denzinger, in connection with 
"predestination." 6 ) In any case, let us meet them both now: 

Gottschalk, Benedictine monk of Orbais, become prisoner in another abbey; theologian; poet. 

Hincmar, Benedictine monk of Fulda, become Archbishop of Reims; canonist; pastor. 

"Heretic!" is what each one will call the other - in the midst of streams of vituperation worthy 
of the attention of any historian of incivility. 7 

Synopsis of the plot: 

I. Just at the beginning of our story, which has at its center an argument about ways to 
speak of the Trinity, a bitter dispute about predestination has arisen between two Benedictine 
monks, Hincmar and Gottschalk, in the course of which Hincmar, now Archbishop of Reims, has 
secured not only the synodal condemnation of Gottschalk but also his public flogging and then 
his imprisonment in a monastery within the Archbishop's jurisdiction. In the predestination 
dispute, Gottschalk has held firmly to the teaching of Augustine's later writings on "twofold 
predestination" 8 - the predestination of some persons to eternal glory and of some to eternal 

II. Now, in the time of the play: Gottschalk in his monastery of imprisonment hears that 
Archbishop Hincmar has banned the singing of a certain hymn. It was a hymn to the holy 
martyrs which both men had undoubtedly sung many times in their monastery liturgies. But now 
Hincmar as a pastor questions the propriety of one phrase in it: "trina deitas." Gottschalk 
defends that phrase and cites some traditional use of it. 9 The debate rages as furiously as a 
manuscript-technology allows (26, n.6). 

III. Something like "audience participation" follows. Artists and poets are invited to 
notice, as well as historians and ecumenical theologians, while, in a final scene, the playwright 
addresses some "lessons" to the audience. A surprising connection is made between this 
minor dispute and the whole field of icons, poetry, language. 

The playwright: 

Theologian, poet, multi-volume author, George H. Tavard, A.A., priest from Lyon, 
France (and so a near-neighbor to the scene of the dispute). His little book The Catholic 
Approach to Protestantism 10 was the introduction to Christian ecumenism for many of us. A 
member of the Augustinians of the Assumption, he has offered us a delightful and profound 
book entitled Lesjardins (note the plural: "the gardens") de Saint Augustin n For many decades 
a leading ecumenist in North America and internationally, he served on ARCIC I, taught for 
years at a Methodist Seminary in Ohio, and continues now with the official Lutheran/Roman 
Catholic Dialogue. Using his mother's name, he has published poetry in French, and in English 
the breathtaking Song for Avalokita? 2 


Trina Deitas: The controversy between Hincmar and Gottschalk. By George H. Tavard. 
Marquette Studies in Theology No. 12. Milwaukee, Wl: Marquette University Press, 1996. 
Pp.158, including Notes and Index. 

Trina Deitas, one of Fr. Tavard's five books on the Trinity, is historical theology, as he 
says (6), and was partially prepared for within the Lutheran/Roman Catholic dialogue, by his 
study of Hincmar's teaching on episcopacy. 13 

My basic approach to the exploration of Trina Deitas is that a book by Fr. Tavard is sure to be 
valuable, and that this one will be pertinent to the pre-millennium Trinitarian themes. I also 
assume that most of us do not have it at hand, and so I may be of service in communicating 
briefly what is in it as well as by pointing toward other books by the same author which are more 
important for us. 

There will in fact turn out to be relevance to us as Dominicans and contemplatives as 
well as persons of Trinitarian faith. A surprising minor relevance can be shown right away: It 
is Gottschalk we are joining, rather than the Archbishop, every time we open our Benediction 
books to sing sweetly the "Panis angelicus," because we conclude it with: "Te trina deitas 
unaque poscimus" (54, n.54; 131). 

What do we learn, then, from Trina Deitas? 

First, let us review the controversy which Fr. Tavard presents. And to alert ourselves 
to its possible relevance for us, let us again "suppose": 

Suppose we are at a choir rehearsal, with pencils ready to correct a misprint in one of 
our hymnbooks. Or - a less trivial instance, because bearing now upon meaning and doctrine 
- we may be about to correct a translation: for example, the unfortunate English-language 
petition "Re-create in us Your own Spirit, Lord" for Fr. Lucien Deiss's "Donne-nous, 
Seigneur.. .un esprit nouveau." With this latter example we have what we need to understand 
Archbishop Hincmar, who began to be concerned about the teaching conveyed by the phrase 
"trina deitas" in a hymn familiar to him and to others - a teaching that introduces multiplicity, he 
thought, within the very Godhead by the use of an adjective, "trina," which seems to count to 
three in regard to deity. (Not "tri-une" but "trine" is the proper English rendering of "trina," Fr. 
Tavard explains. "Trine" is an English-language word which has fallen out of use, but not yet 
out of all dictionaries [152]). Hincmar begins to see the phrase "trine deity" as a hitherto 
unnoticed carryover from the Arianism of the fourth century. 

The monk Gottschalk, already Hincmar's defeated adversary in regard to the doctrine 
of predestination, hears of Hincmar's prohibition against "trina deitas" and writes from his 
monastery of imprisonment against the prohibition, arguing that Hincmar's position - namely, 
that "trine" is not an appropriate modifier of "essence" or "deity" - is Sabellian, that is, it is 
derived from the fourth-century opinion that "three persons in God" means only different 
"modes" of God. Gottschalk expounded his own understanding of the Three Persons as 
modifying the Godhead each in its own way. Since all the divine attributes may be called trine 
and one, if "deity" cannot be so spoken of, then there are "four" realities in God, not three (68). 


For Gottschalk, Tavard says, "everything divine, including deity and its attributes, is naturally 
one and personally three" (68). 

Tavard sums up the situation: 

When the archbishop heard the word "trinus," whether in ordinary language or 
in hymnody, he spontaneously counted "one, two, three." Counting, however, 
does not lead to Trinity but only to the idolatric pretense of three gogs. Hincmar 
therefore affirmed "una deitas" only. When Gottschalk heard the same word in 
the liturgical context of a traditional hymn, he did not count, but the eyes of his 
soul caught a glimpse of the deity that was revealed through Christ as three 
Persons, "trina deitas." And because, in spite of what Hincmar was saying of 
him, he believed in one God, he specified, "una et trina deitas" (143). 

"tritheoteia, id est, trina deitas" 14 

But can "deity" be substituted for "God"? Is God deity? Should we use "deity" as an 
attribute? In the intellectual tradition to which both disputants belonged, there had been some 
use of "trine" as Hincmar understood it (i.e., as "triple"), and some understanding of "trine" as 
Gottschalk understood it, i.e., as a collective numberless plural. Hincmar's contention, as 
Tavard presents it, was that the weight of tradition was on the side of not using "trine" as 
Gottschalk did, because number cannot qualify the divine essence, and because "deity" is a 
substantial name, not a personal one. So Gottschalk is reproached as a lover of novelty. 
Tavard supplies us with additional references that Gottschalk could have made in his own 
support, and an indication of the subsequent untroubled uses which have been made of the 
phrase - Aquinas's among them (1 31 ). 15 

Fr. Tavard himself has "no fundamental difficulty in calling the deity [with Gottschalk] 
tri-personal or simply trine," to "highlight the full divinity of each Person" (122). "If the divine 
Being is not divided among the Three Persons... then there is reciprocity between Person and 
Being, Substance, or Nature" (122). He says also: "it does not seem to me that Hincmar has 
been able to prove his case" (111), namely, that Gottschalk's approach is unorthodox. 

Is "trine" divisive of the Godhead (1 14)? Or is it a striking affirmation of the unity of the 
Three? True, grammatically some adjectives imply plurality even when they remain singular. 
But Gottschalk wanted to emphasize, Fr. Tavard tells us, by the phrase "personally trine," that 
while each Person performs one same action and each is the same attributes, that is so 
"according to the unique character of each as Person" (78). Hincmar, Fr. Tavard says, thought 
the phrase in question (and the consequent controversy) to be a major problem. 

Yet Tavard is clear: For both combatants the "center" is this: the deity as such is entire 
in each Person (121). Hence the tragedy of their dispute (154). 

Now let us follow Fr. Tavard's lead and move toward a broader canvas. What is the 
relation between grammar and theology? And what diverging approaches to theological 
language, Tavard asks, do we see here between the poet and the canonist (cf. 138)? The 
practice and perspective of Gottschalk is, he thinks, that the good poet is free to assign a 
special sense to words he uses (94). The canonist Hincmar, as Tavard characterizes him, 
expects the "obvious" sense of words, on the conviction that language is social, not private; it 



should be read in its conventional significance, not according to Gottschalk's intuitions (94). Fr. 
Tavard points out that both men held, as assumptions of their culture, a strict correspondence 
between knowing and being, between grammar and knowledge, and the fundamental identity 
of all grammars. 

"lessons" and relevance 

• _ 

In a final chapter of this book (chapter 7), Fr. Tavard offers us some lessons from his 

study. If the present exploration is not to be limited to an abbreviation and rearrangement - 

more or less correct, more or less helpful - of Tavard's own material, a selection needs to be 

made of points especially relevant to ourselves. Then we can rejoin Tavard with the two topics 

he has chosen to emphasize from among the lessons: a renewed incentive for re-thinking the 

present use of the "Filioque" (the phrase "and from the Son" in the Nicene Creed); and the ties 

of the "trina deitas" controversy with the struggle about holy images which had been going on 

for several generations before it (132). 

One of the interesting lessons of this little book comes from the fact that, as Fr. Tavard 
points out, the controversy between Hincmar and Gottschalk occurs within the same intellectual 
world and is to an extent a matter of "old ways" versus "new ways." As Tavard reads Hincmar 
(120): "New ways are proper only when new circumstances call for new decisions." One 
should "do" according to the metropolitans and synods; the "what is never done" is an important 
category (cf. 1 23). But as Tavard shows, by following in this way, whatever is the point at issue 
is never met (121-122). 

Fr. Tavard presents Gottschalk's vision as focused on "the contemplative dimension 
of faith, a contemplation that is served by both poetic and theological expression" (138). The 
exchange between Hincmar and Gottschalk flared, unhelpfully, into their mutual charges of 
"heretic!" (131), but as Tavard puts it also: they can be considered "reconciled, in spite of 
themselves, in the church's memory" (154). 

["Trine and one deity"] was not, one must admit on behalf of Hincmar, in the 
standard theological or liturgical usage of Western Christendom. But whether 
it was heretical or even wrong is of course a different question (50). 

This gives us a useful and double-edged suggestion, it would seem, for evaluating our own 
dialogues. Both disputants saw at stake the Christian doctrine of God (130). 

The little book we are considering has helpful reminders of some theological history 
which we may have forgotten. For example: 

A prominent aspect of the East-West trinitarian controversy was vocabulary: for the 
Greeks, "hypostasis" was what we call "person," and the literal Latin translation of hypostasis 
is "substantia"; but substantia was usually understood as referring to the divine nature. Hence 
the enormous trouble with affirmations of either "three hypostases" or "one substance" (75, 78). 
In regard to "proceeding," Fr. Tavard gives us in a note this summary: 

Briefly, the Eastern and Western traditions are not contradictory, if it is admitted 
that the Latin processio has another meaning than the Greek ekporeusis. Thus 


one may say, "the Spirit originates from the Father alone and proceeds from the 
Father and the Son" (151 , n. 1 8). 

Interesting for the history of Catholic/Orthodox discussions is Scotus's contribution that 
e/cand ex connote total origin from the Father, while dia or per indicate origin also, but without 
the note of totality (74). We are given the date and occasion of the interpolation of "Filioque" 
("and from the Son") into the Nicene Creed: February 2, 1014, at the coronation of Henry II in 
Rome. And we learn again (146) that the fragile achievement of the Council of Florence in 1442 
was the affirmation that there is no contradiction between a Patre per Filium (the Spirit is from 
the Father through the Son) and ab utroque (the Spirit is from both Father and Son) (146). 

We are reminded also of the history of "person": a signifier of interrelationship, as in 
Augustine, or, with Boethius, of incommunicability (82). (Here, we learn, Gottschalk departed 
from Augustine [70], whom he had followed so closely into disaster in the predestination 
argument: in the Trinity, personal names are by no means relative, he thought [69].) 

An unexpected thread in the weave of "women's issues" is Hincmar's identification of 
Eve with Adam in his (Latin) phrase: et Eva ipsa est Adam. (The context is the universality of 
original sin [100,n.40]). 

It will be a discovery for most of us, and especially for those familiar with catacomb art, 
that there was a "Rule n. 82" from a seventh-century council 16 instructing church artists to 
depict the humanity of Christ rather than the symbol of the Lamb (1 39). Fr. Tavard's point in 
recalling this is to link developments in painting with developments in christological dogmas (cf. 

An interesting theme from doctrinal history is signaled: the early referent of "corpus 
mysticum," for Gottschalk and others, was the Eucharistic sacrament (21). De Lubac's study, 
fifty years ago, of the variety in early uses of the phrase "the body of Christ" is itself a part of 
modern doctrinal history. (Tavard's reference to it is tucked into an endnote [27 n.1 1 1].) 

If in our early studies we had difficulties with the famous "Rule" of St. Vincent of Lerins 
- "one should teach only what has been believed 'everywhere, always, and by all"' - a context 
for the Rule is supplied for us: Vincent (d.450) saw a doctrinal position of Augustine's 17 as a 
late accretion (!) to the ancient universal consensus (23). Fr Tavard goes on to advise: 
"Although Catholic authors have often argued from this rule [of Vincent of Lerins] it can never 
be applied strictly to any formulation of doctrine" (28, n.24). 

By considering the controversy set out in this book, we are made more free in relation 
to what Fr. Tavard calls St. Augustine's "mixed heritage to Latin Christendom" (19), and his 
"unfinished theology of grace" (24). He recalls that long ago doctrine went beyond Augustine 
in regard to predestination and to the question of salvation outside the visible limits of the 

Though we learn that some theological discussions are "rendered obsolete" by "the 
evolution of languages" (149), we also learn to our surprise that the French edition of the 
present Catechism of the Catholic Church uses "trine" to modify "I'unite divine" (151, n. 21), 
where the English translation uses "tri-une." 


(A lesson for the University Press would be a note on the number of "typos" in so small 
a book.) 

"Trinity" (i.e., the formulations) as expressions of experience 

We return now to Fr. Tavard's own choice for emphasis among the lessons that can be 
derived from the Hincmar/Gottschalk Trinitarian controversy. 

In view of the hope for reunion in 2000 still being expressed by John Paul II for Roman 
Catholic and Orthodox Christians, Fr. Tavard draws attention to the progress there has been 
in East-West Christian understanding in regard to icons. He does so partly in order to ask for 
similar progress in regard to the "Filioque" (146, 148) - a matter which Yves Congar, O.P., also 
asked to be re-studied, as we may remember. 18 In the century of the "trina deitas" dispute, and 
subsequently, the "Filioque" has functioned, Tavard thinks, as a unifier - political and cultural 
(if this is not pressing his own carefui statements) - but its religious and theological function can 
be re-studied. 

The best surprise in the Hincmar/Gottschalk book is the link Fr. Tavard makes between 
the roots of their controversy and the broad questions of religious art and expression. We have 
already noticed his attention to canonist/poet categories for understanding the two men and 
their mutual incomprehension. And we have followed him to consideration of the strict corres- 
pondence expected by the "Carolingian mind" between thought and reality: "the way things are 
said is the way they are," hence "grammar is the gate of metaphysics"; it "opens a metaphysical 
perspective" (66). 

Then Fr. Tavard goes on to the whole matter of signification and representation. He puts 
the connection of poetry and painting cautiously: "the poetic use of language and the iconic use 
of paint are 'not dissimilar'" (142). 19 And here we find ourselves again in the Greeks/Franks 
tension, set out for us by Tavard (I summarize): the Franks denied that pictures can be holy, 
and assigned a limit to Christian art: images speak to intellect, and teach. The Greeks at Nicea 
affirmed that pictures can be holy. The Eastern expectation is that images facilitate entrance 
into the mysteries, into the spiritual world of the believer, that they are ways of perceiving 
Presence, through the power of Christ (139), that they are an opening to the believer's world 
of faith. 

Tavard names the issue in another way also: 

For both East and West, theology can be non-verbal (communication). But what kind 
of theology is this non-verbal communication (140)? For the Greeks, theology is contemplative 
and icons are sacramental. For the Franks, theology is didactic and images are catechetical 
(140) or decorative. 

To put the broader question: what level of reality do symbols reach (141)? For example, 
the phrase "trina deitas"? 

Words can be verbal icons, giving access to the reality of "deitas." The "trinus" 
of a hymn does not simply state the the Trinity of Persons is a Trinity of the deity. 
It also places the singer in a worshipping attitude before the mystery of the three 
Persons who are one (142). 


The question, says Tavard, is really about the entire range of language (143) and "about the 
broader semiotic field" (141). 

Here the John-Scotus "detour" (70-76) which Tavard makes in the book (i.e., the pages 
devoted to Scotus's participation-theology) yields a pertinent insight: 

[Both cataphatic and apophatic theology] must eventually be trans- 
cended in a language that is neither affirmative nor negative, but 
symbolic (72). 

pax! lux!: the patterning of symbol and reality 20 

Fr. Tavard's powerful grasp of the trinitarian patterning of reality - which surely is the 
contemplative core of his books - is expressed also in this one. 21 

Tavard points out that Gottschalk's view of the divine attributes as cumulative (we are 
told he always gives lists of them) "opens an extremely dynamic contemplation of the divine 
actions in creation" (146), and also that his thinking shines yet another ray on the so-called 
"appropriation" (1 1 3) - a matter of intense theological interest to anyone for whom the Trinitarian 
doctrine is, as Tavard calls it, the expression of an experience (148). 

Fr. Tavard has an important passage (pp 215-216) on the topic of appropriation in his 
Poetry and contemplation in St. John of the Cross 22 The passage concludes with: 

At the climax of experience, and presumably also in the beatific vision beyond 
dying love, each Person is perceived both in its identity with divine Being (each 
is all that God is) and in its constitutive relation to the other Persons. The 
coincidence of these two relationships justifies using a term of nature, an 
attribute, to designate a Person.... Yet this is not, as an appropriation would be, 
merely a view of the mind and a phenomenon of speech. It is a symbol in the 
true sense of the term.... The fruit received from God in his self-gift breaks 
appropriation down, just as it tears the veil, all the veils, of merely human life and 
thought (P. and C, 216). 

In a similar vein he had already said: 

At the summit of mystical experience the intimate knowing of the Word and the 
Spirit, and therefore of the Father.... brings about a more profound understanding 
of the divine Being in its oneness and in its attributes (P. and C, 208). 

The author's presentation of this Trinitarian controversy encourages us to associate 
singular and plural in our prayer. With Gottschalk we can sometimes say: "Vobis Deo gratias" 
- for which Fr. Tavard suggests the translation "Thanks to you all, God" (122) - in order not to 
neglect in speech the lived relationships, and to affirm the singularity of deity at the same time 
as we refer to the Persons (123). Here we are reminded of Blessed Elizabeth's prayer: "O my 
Three! My All!" 23 

When I wonder which is the chief "afterimage" for me of this exploration of the book 
Trina Deltas, I find: an increased aliveness to Father, Son, and Spirit even as we sing (for 


example) to the One who "is justice and truth." 24 And ! hear in it yet another exhortation to more 
patient daily human dialogue: we disputants, too - of common life or of doctrine - may well be 
"reconciled in the church's memory," finally and in spite of ourselves. 

But my purpose in sharing an exploration of Tavard's Trina Deitas book was "gemina," 
twofold: to give some idea of its contents for people who might not see it themselves, and also 
to invite them to turn by preference to other books by the same author - most urgently these 
three: The Vision of the Trinity, Song for Avalokita, and Poetry and Contemplation in St. John 
of the Cross 25 Perhaps the level of the questions to which George Tavard can bring us is clear. 

It may do honor to the efforts of both Hincmar and Gottschalk to preserve Trinitarian faith 
if I add a compelling image of the Father which Fr. Tavard presents in Poetry and Contem- 

As usual in classical Trinitarian theology, ...the first Person does not reveal itself 
directly.... Yet, in relation to the image of the hand, identified with the Father, he 
[John of the Cross] formulates a beautiful prayer: 'Oh hand, as generous as thou 
art powerful and rich, richly and powerfully dost thou give me thy gifts! Oh, soft 
hand, softer still for this soul, and softly laid upon it, for if thou wert to lean hardly 
upon it the whole world would perish.' 

If John of the Cross thus places himself before the Father, this is because he 
has first sensed the Father's touching (P. and C. 208). 


1 . The citation is given below in the text. Page numbers in parentheses in this article refer to this one 

2. Pope Leo III (795-816); Tavard, Trina Deitas (11). 

3. Fr. Tavard does not use the image of play and players. He simply refers to the tragedy of the 
dispute in the two men's lives. The vocabulary of the theater is suggested to me by the cover 
Marquette University Press has given to Trina Deitas: a photo of the stark sanctuary and bare altar 
of a medieval abbey church in France - a scene surely awaiting players and a drama. 

4. "[T]he most impressive philosopher and theologian of the ninth century was Johannes Scotus. .." 
(Tavard, 18). 

5. Hincmar died during the raid of 882 (Tavard, 154). 

6. DS (11965) 621o. 

7. Tavard calmly describes the exchanges as being "in the vituperative style of the period" (102), with 
their calls of "blasphemer," "a spurious excrescence at the root of bitterness" (102), "maniac" (124). 
Or: "fornicator, blind, shameless,... enemy of truth" (125). 

8. For Augustine, predestination is to be understood along the lines of charity: both are twofold. 

9. However, as Fr. Tavard points out (67), Gottschalk neglected to cite what might have been his 
strongest ally: the usage of Pope Pelagius (556-561) who in a letter of 557a.d. professed the unity 
of God as "trine" (Tavard, 50). But the correct reference for him to make from Constantinople III 
would have been to an imperial covering-letter for the acta (Tavard, 62). 


10. George H. Tavard, A.A., The Catholic Approach to Protestantism (New York, N.Y.: Harper and 
Brothers, 1955), tr. From the French by the author. 

11. Lesjardins de Saint Augustin (Montreal, Quebec: Les Editions Bellarmin, 1988). 

12. Henri Wasser, Song for Avalokita (Philadelphia, PA: Dorrance, 1979). 

1 3. "Episcopacy and Apostolic Succession in the Works of Hincmar of Reims," Theological Studies, vol. 
34(1973), n. 4: 594-623. 

14. Tavard 84, n. 30. 

15. "Sachs solemniis," of the Office for Corpus Christi, attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas (54, n. 54). 

16. The "Quinisext," confirmed by Nicaea II (Tavard, 139). 

17. The reference is to his position on the consequences of original sin. 

18. Yves Congar, OP., / Believe in the Holy Spirit (New York, N.Y.: Seabury, 1982), v. Ill, iv. 

19. In his contribution to the Cerf en bref series, La Trinite (Paris: Editions du Cerf, 1992), Fr. Tavard 
extends these insights to music. 

20. A small bit of ninth-century language-analysis serves me here as image for Fr. Tavard's core insight 
about the trinitarian structure of reality: some Latin-speakers, oblivious of other languages, liked to 
point to the Trinitarian pattern "proved" by such important words (of three letters) as pax and lux 
(Tavard, 113). 

Tavard calls attention early in the book to Gottschalk's sense that "there is a pattern of diversity 
in unity at several key points of the Christian faith and life. It is this pattern that explains the unity 
of the body of Christ and the diversity of its three modes...." (Tavard, 22). 

21 . It is of interest to me personally to recall that the summer months before my inquiries about entering 
a contemplative community were spent largely on preparing a review (for Horizons, the journal of the 
College Theology Society) of Fr Tavard's The Vision of the Trinity (Washington, D.C.: University 
Press of America, 1981). 

22. (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1988). The passage makes some common cause with 

23. "O mes Trois, mon Tout...," Elizabeth de la Trinite, J'ai trouve Dieu (Paris: Les Editions du Cerf, 
1980), t. 1a: 201. 

24. Wed. Ill, Daytime Prayer, Liturgy of the Hours. 

25. For Song: see n. 12. 

The Poetry and Contemplation book is not for some restricted group, as I learned from watching "The 
Twins" of my monastery seize upon it with the connaturality of trinitarianly-patterned people. One 
of these eighty-year-olds drank in the following difficult passage and made it a frequent part of the 
"devotions" she conducted, from memory, for the benefit of her stroke-paralyzed but attentive twin 

God is "the beginning and the root of all movement," and therefore too of this motion [i.e., 
the awakening] in the soul. It is not the Word who wakes up; it is the soul who, moved by 
the Word, rises to a new day. God is then known as the source of all being and all life, 
as acting in all that is and in all that lives. The soul discovers that divine wisdom 'is more 
active than all active things.' It experiences, along with the divine presence in all things, 
the presence of all things in God the Word (P. And C, 214). 


A Jubilee Reflection 

Sr. Mary Rose Dominic, O.P. 
Summit, NJ 

At the present time the whole world is caught up in a tidal wave of enthusiasm as 
we prepare to celebrate the great Jubilee of the birth of Christ, in the year 2000. What 
is the secret of this global exultation? How can we explain or understand it, unless we 
discover its hidden source? So it is to the mystery of its hidden source that we shall turn 
our attention in this reflection. This hidden source is none other than Jesus himself. 

St. John, in recording the most important event in human history, summed up its 
vast and profound implications in one brief statement when he said: 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was 
God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and 
without him was not anything made that was made." (1:1-3) 

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have 
beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. (1:14) 

The entrance of Jesus into the orbit of time and history was not something which 
took the world by surprise, and found humankind totally unprepared; but rather 
something for which God had been preparing since the Fall in paradise. Nor was it an 
isolated incident of history, but rather the culmination of a work of ages. It stands at the 
center of time, the climactic scene of the great drama of the ages. Only when viewed 
in the light and context of universal history can the coming of Jesus be seen in true 
perspective. It is the coordinating element in time, drawing all the divergent strains of 
human history into one great symphony. 

Jesus stands at the center of time. His person and mission fill all time and are the 
key to its mystery. He fulfills all prophecy, he dominates all history, he involves all ages, 
nations and civilizations in his own mystery. He gathers the mystery of time about 
himself like the folds of a beautiful robe. Time is his vesture, and every event in time 
finds its true significance only when viewed in the light of his coming. Even a superficial 
knowledge of universal history makes this clear. Every event in human history during 
the ages which preceded him looked forward to his coming, and was in some way 
involved in God's preparation of the world for it. Every event which has since taken 
place looks back to find its true significance in relation to him. For his salvation was to 
be for all. Just as all shared in the guilt of Adam so all were to be partakers in the 
mystery of redemption (Cf. 1 Co 15:21-22). When viewed in the light of its relationship 
to him, every event in time becomes a part of one harmonious whole, and history is no 
longer seen as a succession of isolated events bearing no relationship to one another. 

Since Jesus came the world can never be the same. His claims upon the human 
race and upon each individual member of it are such as no other man would ever have 


dared to make; and he proved these claims by works such as no other man has ever 
done or ever will do again. His doctrine is incomparably superior to any earthly 
philosophy, and he alone could say in perfect truth: "I have come that they may have life, 
and have it abundantly." (Jn 10:10) 

His gospel is suited to every age in time, to every culture and civilization and to 
every condition of life; because the truths it teaches are eternal and unchangeable, and 
therefore* fill the deepest and changeless needs of human nature. This explains the 
universal appeal of Jesus and his doctrine to every age. The crystal beauty of truth 
shines on every page of his gospel and appeals to the very essence of human nature 
Being made in the likeness of God, men and women love essentially what is good; and 
when a person beholds good, s/he reaches out to embrace it. This likewise explains 
why the gospel of Jesus, which in many things runs contrary to humanity's lower nature, 
has not yet conquered the world. 

Jesus spoke clearly of his claims to universal acceptance, and he warned of the 
tragic consequences of denying him or of being ashamed of his gospel. He said: 

He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. 
(Mt 12:30) 

He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who 
loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take 
his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and 
he who loses his life for my sake will find it. (Mt 10:37-39) 

For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or 
what shall a man give in return for his life? (Mt 16:26) 

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful 
generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the 
glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mk 8:38) 

No earthly philosophy or religious cult can give that fulness of meaning to life which 
the gospel of Jesus gives. No other way of life can give a person that sense of harmony 
and peace, or that fulness of happiness that his gospel provides. Since he has spoken, 
no one's life can ever be the same, for to use the expression of Hebrews, his word is 
"living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and 
spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 
And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him 
with whom we have to do" (4:12-13). To him, the supreme judge, every soul must 
ultimately render an account of its life. 

St. John once said: 

If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the 
testimony of God that he has borne witness to his Son. He who believes in the 
Son of God has the testimony in himself. He who does not believe God has made 


him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne to his 
Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his 
Son. He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life. (I 
Jn 5:9-12) 

Jesus commissioned his followers, all of those who, then and now, are witnesses 
in faith to his resurrection, to go out and give testimony to him. In the nearly two 
millennia that have since passed, many have received his gospel with hearts open to 
believe. Others have chosen to turn a deaf ear. Many more have simply never heard 
it. The words of Jesus still ring true, "I tell you, lift up your eyes, [look into the 
approaching millennium] and see how the fields are already white for harvest" ( Jn 4:35). 
Like their Master when he came into this world, his followers who give witness to him 
have the power to change the face of the earth. For Jesus whom they proclaim is truly 
the Lord, sent by the Father, the one who holds the key of life, who is the fulfilment of 
all time, past, present and still to come, the one alone who can bring humanity to its final 
goal of eternal life. 

This then is the cosmic event which we Christians are about to celebrate in the 
great Jubilee of 2000. But how can we, as contemplatives, personally contribute to this 
global celebration? Perhaps the most perfect way would be to ponder and put into 
practice the farewell message of Jesus to his apostles on the night of the Last Supper. 
"As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my 
commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's 
commandments and abide in his love. This is my commandment, that you love one 
another as I have loved you" (Jn 1 5:9,1 0,1 2). "By this all men will know that you are my 
disciples, if you have love for one another." (Jn 13:35) 

We conclude this brief reflection on the all embracing mystery of Christ with the 
following hymn 1 which describes an important aspect of the theme of the great Jubilee: 
the universal nature of Jesus' mission. 

Most glorious Lord, whose mystery fills Creation, 
All things find true significance in thee; 
Of this vast complex thou art the Foundation, 
Its Principle, its Terminus and Key. 

Time is Thy robe; its mystic seamless fabric 
Was woven by the Father's own right hand, 
When by His Word creation was established, 
And awesome mystery of Time began. 

All through the ages this thy robe is weaving, 
And shall be till time's mystery shall close. 
In its design each human life is woven 
As ornamental thread of purest gold. 


All ages most remote in past or future, 
Beneath thy scepter and thy mystery come, 
As life on earth and orbit of the planets 
Must come beneath dominion of the sun. 

Oh Savior blest! Thy Godhead's fascination, 
Doth draw Man to thine inmost mystery, 
To find in thee life's truest exaltation; 
Thy Truth alone that can make mankind free. 

Most glorious Lord, oh Jesus, Light of ages, 
Come shed thy rays upon our darkened soul; 
Be thou our Way, our Truth, our Light, our Compass, 
To lead us safe to our eternal goal. 


1 This is my original poem from which Hymn No. 459 in The Summit Choirbook © 1983 by DNS, was 




Sr. Marie Dominic, O.P. 
Farmington Hills, Ml 

In a monastery class on Dominican History and Sources we were studying Dominicans 
of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. We were introduced to Fra Angelico's frescoes 
at San Marco. 

"In relation to the rooms in which they find themselves, most of the 
scenes are relatively large in scale. In each case the scene is 
represented on the window wall opposite the door, and the wall thus 
contains two apertures, one opening on the physical and the other on the 
spiritual world. Dominating their austere surroundings, they were 
designed as aids to meditation, not as decoration, and were intended to 
secure for the mysteries they described a place in the forefront of the 
friars' mind by keeping them constantly before their eyes." 1 

As part of our study of Fra Angelico we were asked to choose a print of one of his San 
Marco frescoes and to pray with it for a few weeks. We were further encouraged to live 
with the mystery presented in the fresco letting it speak to our senses, mind, spirit and 
heart. We were asked to keep a day by day journal of what we experienced as we 
spent time with the painting. 2 Art, it was explained to us, is meant to be creative not only 
for the artist but for the beholder. The viewer is invited to come before a piece with no 
preconceived notions, in total openness, and to let it speak to her. 



Day One (December 20) 

I felt drawn to this picture immediately because of a past experience with the 
Resurrection gospel stories. I shall see if what attracted me before still draws me into 
this picture, yet I will remain open to what new insights lie hidden and concealed within 
the painting/story, waiting to be discovered. 

I place the painting at a distance and I am struck by the muted colors. Mary Magdalen's 
dress and cloak/mantle have the deepest and richest color. 

I feel drawn to her; this is where I shall begin. I will attempt to stay with her and study 
her and invite her to draw me into herself that I may look out through her eyes. 

Dear Magdalen, 

May I be with you this day, 

this significant day, 
As you discover your Teacher, 

Lord and 

Friend, anew. 


Noli Me Tangere, 1440-1 
Fra Angelico 


Day Two (December 21) 

I place the picture on such an angle that I seem to come at the scene from behind Mary 
Magdalen. I try to place myself in the same posture as she is in. 

Mary, why are your hands held that way? One is reaching up toward Jesus and the 
other is pointing in a downward position. Why are your hands nqt both raised in an 
upward position? Why are you not reaching out to embrace Jesus? 

Dear Magdalen, 

Help me to understand your posture, 

Help me to discover its significance 
not only for you, 

but for me as well. 

Day Three (December 22) 

Magdalen, as I join you today for prayer my mind moves again to your hands. Are your 
hands not raised because it was at this moment that Jesus tells you "not to cling" to 
him? How did you feel when he spoke those words to you? Did you feel rejected or 

I would have felt so confused. Here was the person I loved come back to life and I could 
not touch him or hold on to him. I would have felt bewildered. 


Help me to reach beyond my feelings and comprehend the deeper meaning of 

Jesus' words, "Do not cling to me." 

Day Four (December 23) 

Magdalen, today I am struck and drawn into your gaze. Even though you have been 
told not to cling to Jesus and it appears that you begin to lower your hands, you never 
lower your eyes, nor move your gaze from the one you love. 

What was it that Jesus was communicating to you, that mesmerized you so? 


Teach me to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, 
no matter how I feel or 

how things may appear. 

Teach me that what truly matters 

is my relationship with Jesus, 

even when it feels different, 
or might be changing 

from what I knew in the past. 


Day Five (December 24) 

Today as I look out through Mary Magdalen's eyes I feel and see the return gaze of our 
Lord. Their eyes are fixed on one another. 

Today is Christmas Eve and once more we/I wait for the Christ, the promised one, to be 
born anew in our/my life. 

How strange it is to be praying with a Resurrection painting. I have always reflected on 
a Nativity scene today, not a Resurrection one. But are not the eyes gazing back at me 
the same, whether from the Nativity scene or from the Resurrection painting? 


Thank you for showing me that 
the eyes are the same eyes 

and that they are still filled 

with the same tenderness and Love. 

Day Six (December 25) 

Once again I am struck with the reality of it being Christmas and of my reflecting on 

Christmas marks the time of Jesus' becoming human, 

Easter marks the time when we were born into God's eternal life of divinity. 
Easter is the time when death/evil was over-come, defeated and destroyed. 

So Resurrection is about birth: 

Jesus comes forth from the darkness of the tomb, 
he is born anew into eternal life. 

(I notice for the first time that the darkest color in the painting is the doorway of the 


Help me to always turn toward the light of Life. 

Help me to become more humane, which is truly more divine. 

Day Seven (December 26) 

As I gaze and begin my prayer today I realize that Mary Magdalen is kneeling between 
death and life. She has turned her back on darkness/death and is facing toward and 
looking into the eyes of life and light. 


I realize this is what Mary Magdalen has been inviting me to see and recognize. In order 
to choose life anew I must turn my back on what has gone on in the past and look 
toward the light of Jesus, not clinging to what I knew but open to what can be, now and 
in the future. 

Mary Magdalen, 

Show me how to keep focused on my choice. When I am tempted to turn around, 

re-direct my gaze back toward the light of Jesus' eyes. 

Day Eight (December 27) 

Today as I spend time gazing into the face of Jesus I have to admit that I am not too 
drawn to this painted image of Jesus. Fra Angelico's face of Jesus appears to me a bit 
distant and/or vacant. This image does not match the one I have come to know of 

As I stay with the image, even though his facial features do not appear warm to me, 
his eyes are kind and welcoming. 


Allow me to continue to see and experience Jesus as you did while you were with 
him. I am sure you saw many of his expressions and came to know and 
understand his moods and passions. 

Continue to open my eyes to see and recognize the Lord more intimately. 

Day Nine (December 28) 

Today I come back to the notion of the choice between life and death. 

As I look at the picture I realize that although the colors are darker nearer the tomb they 

become lighter as they move closer to Jesus. 

What can this mean? 

Day Ten (December 29) 

I notice something in the painting that I have not noticed before today. Jesus is holding 
onto or carrying a long piece of wood. His one hand is lower in the direction of Mary 
Magdalen and his other hand is balancing or holding onto this piece of wood. 

What could his action mean? What is Fra Angelico trying to communicate with this 

Oh Artist, 

What mystery are you hinting at? What message are you attempting to 



Today I feel a little distant, all of a sudden I have become an observer and not a 
participant. What must I see/observe from a distance or that I cannot see or recognize 
if I'm too close? 

Mary and Jesus, 

Open my eyes wider that I may take in what I have not seen before. 

Day Thirteen (January 1, 1999) 

Today begins a new year. This year is a new opportunity to encounter you, Lord, 

The Resurrection story calls me to a new relationship with you, one in which I am 
instructed "not to cling" to you. 

Dear Lord, 

Help me to see with fresh new eyes. 

Day Fourteen (January 2) 

The painting and the invitation to pray with it, is about looking and seeing, and not only 
on a surface. It is also teaching me that I can look at something or someone and still 
not be sure that I have the full and total picture. 

Day Eleven (December 30) 

I gaze and examine closely what Jesus is holding on to. Where is it coming from? 
Is Jesus carrying the piece of wood? Is it attached to the fence running across the back 
of the picture? Does the wood continue on? Or does it stop in Jesus' hand? 

Is this detail important? 

What meaning does it have? 

Fra Angelico, 

What are you trying to say? 

What are you trying to reveal to me? 

Is the wood simply part of the fence? Or does it symbolize the means of our 
salvation, the wood of the cross, the tree of life? 

Day Twelve (December 31) 

As I look at the picture from a distance today, it seems as though I am looking through 
a window. 


This desire to know and see cannot always be satisfied. Am I willing to live with the 
unknown or mystery? Or do I have to give it meaning from my perspective before I can 
let it go or let it rest. 


Help me to live with mystery and wonder; 

not that I stop asking questions or wondering about things, 
but that I accept that there will be times 

when I do not have the answers and 
that it's OK. 

Day Fifteen (January 3) 

Today as I gaze at Jesus I am drawn to the fact that the painting indicates that he is in 
motion; he is not standing still. Look at the garment over his shoulder, it appears as if 
it is moving. 

I really did not notice his feet until I read a book on Fra Angelico's frescos which pointed 
out that his left foot is crossed over his right one. 

If this is what is happening it might explain his gestures toward you, Mary Magdalen. 
He tells you not to cling to him. When persons are moving it is hard to hold onto or cling 
to them. In order to hold on to them, you have to be in a stationary position. Jesus, is 
that why you said to Mary not to cling to you? Were you in the process of ascending 
and did not want to be stopped and/or held back? 



Help me never to cling to who you were but who you are becoming in my life. 

Day Sixteen (January 4) 

I keep moving back and forth between the invitation not to cling and the curiosity of 
trying to discover what it is that Jesus is holding onto. Not until I examined a larger 
picture of the Fresco was I able to see that it is a garden hoe. This is the image in one 
of the gospel stories: he is portrayed as a gardener. 


What am I still holding onto or attempting to cling to? 

Help me to discover what keeps me from moving closer to you? 

May I never lose sight of you, even when I cannot see or feel you as I once did. 

Day Seventeen (January 5) 

Today the painting draws me to the scripture stories of the Resurrection. 

...toward dawn on the first day of the week Mary Magdalen and the other 
Mary went to visit the sepulcher.... Then Jesus said to them, 'Do not be 


afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will 
see me there' (Mt 28:1,1 0). 

As I look at you, Mary, I do not see fear on your face. I see only astonishment/ 
amazement or - dare I say - ecstasy. You look as if you are very attentive to what 
Jesus is saying to you. As I look at you I get the sense that you are aware only of 
Jesus and of nothing else. 


You are a model for me; help me to be attentive always to God's word. Help me 

to be willing to meet Jesus in Galilee. 


Help me not to be afraid of the new ways you come to me. 

Day Eighteen (January 6) 

Jesus said, 'Mary'! She knew him then and said to him in Hebrew,' 
Rabbuni,' which means Master. Jesus said to her, 'Do not cling to me, 
because I have not yet ascended to the Father' (Jn 20: 16-18). 


Was it because Mary called you Master, and because of her gesture of falling 
down before you that you said, "Do not cling to me?" It was not you who 
changed toward her but she who changed before you. It was she who moved 
from being friend to being servant again by saying, "Master." Is that why you 
said, "Do not be afraid?" 

Day Nineteen (January 7) 

'...why look among the dead for someone who is alive? He is not here, he 
has risen.' When the women returned from the tomb they told all this to 
the eleven and to all the others. The women were Mary of Magdala, 
Joanna, and Mary the mother of James.... but this story of theirs seemed 
pure nonsense, and they did not believe them (Lk 24:6, 9-11). 


Help me always to speak the truth of what Jesus reveals to me and not to be 

afraid even when people may be unaccepting of the message. 

Day Twenty (January 8) 


Fra Angelico I have prayed with your painting, 
I have prayed with you, 



and I am still wondering. 

Can I live with mystery? 
Can I live with not having all the answers? 

Can I live with holding on? 
Can I live with not clinging? 

Can I live with what is hidden? 
Can I live with what is revealed? 

Can I live with what is not, Yet? 
Can I live with what Is? 

Can I live with my feet planted on the earth? 
Can I live with my eyes raised toward heaven? 

Can I live with tenderness and strength? 
Can I live with emptiness and vulnerability? 

Can I live with darkness? 
Can I live with light? 

Can I live with the wood of the cross? 
Can I live with the tree of life? 

Can I live with all the questions? 
Can I live not having all the answers? 



Is it Christmas? 

Is it Easter? 

The season is Christmas, 
My reflections are on Easter. 

I'm confused! 
Is it Christmas 

Is it Easter? 

If it's Christmas, 

I'm tempted to hold on to the image 

of the newborn child. 

If it's Easter, 

I'm tempted to hold on to the image 

of the risen Christ. 

Is it Christmas? 

Is it Easter? 
I'm confused! 


The Christmas invitation is to 
recognize the vulnerability of 
the child who is king. 
The Easter invitation is to 
Recognize the vulnerability of 
God who is human. 

Will it be Christmas? 

Will it be Easter? 
I'm confused! 

Can both realities co-exist? 
Can it be both 
Christmas and Easter? 

Am I being challenged to hold on to 

the tenderness of the Christ child 

Who is hold and innocent? 

While at the same time not clinging 

to my life but 

willing to lay it down? 

Am I being challenged to be 

raised up on the cross with Jesus, 

who is sinless? 

Am I willing to see things from Jesus 


Am I willing to be transformed? 

If I am 

It is Christmas 


It is Easter. 

Why am I confused? 

I'm confused! 
Is it Christmas? 

Is it Easter? 

What image will I follow and/or accept? 
God who became one of us at 

Jesus the Man, who was raised up 
on Easter. 



1. John Pope-Hennessy, Angelico (Firenze, Italia: Becocci Editore, 1981), 41. 

2. Our instructress explained that the inspiration for this assignment came from an article by Sr. Mary 
of the Savior, OP., "Praying before a Picture," Dominican Monastic Search, v. 17 (1998). 



Sister Mary Joseph, O.P. 
Farmington Hills, Ml 

Over the years, and especially since Saint Catherine has been declared a Doctor of tlje 
Church, learned articles have been written and erudite lectures have been delivered all around 
the world on every conceivable aspect of her life and teaching; e.g.: "Catherine and the 
Papacy," "The Influence of Catherine on Diplomacy," "The Influence of Catherine's Writings 
on the Italian Language," etc., etc. I considered, whimsically, entitling this article: "St. Catherine 
and Zen Buddhism, or: "How St. Catherine Helped Me to Solve My Koan." The connection 
would be tenuous, but there is a connection, at least in my mind. 


One of the goals of Zen Buddhism, as of Christianity, is "enlightenment." But 
enlightenment in any religion is not easy to come by. In Zen, one way to it is through the 
so-called koan exercise. A koan is a paradoxical problem which is given to a disciple by the 
Master. It has no rational solution. 

"What was the shape of your original face before you were born?" 

"If we know the sound of two hands clapping, what is the sound of one hand 

"MU" (Nothing) 1 

The riddle is pondered unceasingly by the disciple for days and sometimes months, or 
intermittently for years. Often this constant pondering on paradox creates great anguish in the 
soul, and without proper guidance by the Master, can result in a psychic breakdown; but finally 
the mind "breaks through" to a solution, which often seems as irrational as the problem. 
Actually, as the Master of Zen will explain, the solution has nothing to do with logic, with the 
activity of the discursive intellect. It is meant to bring the mind beyond the discursive process 
in order that it may operate on a deeper level. This, it would seem, is often the case with many 
inventions and other productions of the mind which we sometimes call "flashes of genius" or 
"intuitions." We hear of a person waking up in the middle of the night with a sudden solution of 
a difficult problem with which he or she had been wrestling unsuccessfully. Newton, watching 
the fall of an apple from a tree, received a flash of enlightenment on the law of gravity. 

Buddhist psychology which, it is said, closely resembles modern depth psychology, 
divides the psyche into as many as eight or nine levels of consciousness. Ordinarily we live at 
the superficial level of discursive reasoning, but to attain to enlightenment we must penetrate 
to a deeper level. That is why St. John of the Cross keeps stressing that we must not get hung 
up on the activity of our intellects. 

Many young people have turned to Zen and other Eastern religions in their thirst for an 
experience of God. It has been suggested, even by Zen Masters themselves, that Christians 
can better attain enlightenment by the proper reading of their own Scriptures. 2 


The Scriptures are full of koan, i.e., of sayings that, though they do not mock reason as 
the Zen koan seems to do, nevertheless puzzle and confound reason. 

"He who would save his life will lose it." 

"Let the dead bury their dead." 

"The grain of wheat must fall into the ground and die." 

"He who believes in Me shall never die." 

The whole of Scripture, in fact, can be looked upon as one great koan, something we can never 
consider that we have fully grasped or understood. Even in the most familiar passages, new 
lights are always forthcoming in a prayerful reading. As spiritual writers point out, even texts that 
seem dry and uninteresting, e.g., genealogies, can become bearers of grace if we read them 
with humility and reverence. We must sit down before the Scriptures as a beggar before the 
palace of the king, and wait patiently for them to open their treasures to us. 

my koan 

A Scriptural "koan" which I have been pondering for some time occurs at the end of 
chapter nine in Mark. I have not, of course, given it the concentrated attention demanded in 
Zen practice because, for one thing, I do not think that it is the most important text in the Bible; 
it is just intriguing. 

Jesus had been instructing His disciples in the necessity of making any sacrifice in order 
to avoid sin: "If your right hand is an occasion of sin to you, cut it off .... It is better to go into 
eternal life maimed than to go whole and entire into hell where everyone will be salted with fire" 
(Mk 9; NAB). Then, at the very end comes this little saying, which really does not seem to have 
much connection with the foregoing: "Keep salt in your hearts, and you will be at peace with 
your neighbor." 

When it came to solving my koan, I discovered that as a Zen Buddhist I make a good 
Christian, since I often used the discursive intellect in pondering its meaning. I tried first of all 
to see what I could find on the meaning of salt in a religious context. 

Now salt, as I learned from a biblical dictionary, always used for seasoning of food and 
preservation of things from corruption, had from earliest times a sacred and religious character. 
Orientals used to cleanse and harden the skin of newborns with it. By strewing it on a piece of 
land they dedicated that land to the gods. Jewish law prescribed it for the sacrifices: "Do not 
let the salt of the covenant be lacking from your cereal offerings" ( Lv 2). In a passage in 
Exodus, after giving minute directions for the making of incense Yahweh says: "This fragrant 
powder is to be salted and so kept pure and sacred." In Mt 13, salt symbolizes wisdom, though 
perhaps it originally had an exorcistic signification. Salt was used in the old baptismal rite of the 
Church and signified, according to the Catechism of the Council of Trent, three things: 
deliverance from the corruption of sin, a relish for good works, and a delight for the food of 
divine wisdom. 

These details give interesting little leads as to the possible meaning of my koan: that it 
preserves from the corruption of sin; that it makes sacred; that it consecrates the object or 
being for the service of God; that it gives a spiritual taste for good. But what is this salt? 


light from Catherine 

One day when I was reading the Dialogue of St. Catherine I received a new light on my 
koan. The Eternal Father is speaking to Catherine about the virtue of discretion. He has just 
explained that the soul must never incur the guilt of sin to help her neighbor, even spiritually 
(recall the above passage from Mark: "If your right hand is an occasion of sin..."), for, says the 
Father to Catherine: "It would not be just that creatures who are finite and created by Me, 
should be saved through offense done to Me, who am the Infinite Gpod." 3 Then He goes on 
to say: "And this true love knows well, because she carries with herself the light of holy 
discretion, that light which dissipates all darkness, takes away ignorance, and is the 
condiment of every instrument of virtue" (ch. 1 1). 4 

"Holy discretion," the Father continues, "is a prudence which cannot be cheated, a 
fortitude which cannot be beaten, a perseverance from end to end, stretching from Heaven to 
earth, that is, from the knowledge of Me to knowledge of self, and from love of Me to love of 
others" (ch. 11). "And these fruits (virtues) cannot be taken from her without her will, inasmuch 
as they are all flavored with discretion...." (ch. 10). 

"[Holy discretion] is. ..the condiment of every virtue." For me this phrase opened up 
many spiritual vistas to be explored with the help of our sister Catherine, in whom we truly have 
a gold mine. But first, because discretion is, I believe, so central to her doctrine, and because 
it is such an important theme in the history of monasticism, I would like to trace, if only sketchily, 
its development in spiritual theology in order to see Catherine's teaching in its proper 
perspective. And the place my mind turns to is Scripture - to see the roots of "discretion" in 


A brief consideration of the origins of the words used can be helpful. Our English words 
"discrete" and "discern" both come from the Latin dis (apart) and cernere: to separate, 
distinguish between. The Latin is in turn a translation of the Greek word diakrisis which refers 
to judging, dividing, distinguishing, and is used also for "discerning the spirits." In Hebrew there 
are words for choosing, selecting, scrutinizing, testing to select the best. 5 

Another word group that appears frequently is based on dokimadzein which also means 
to test, discern, prove, to judge something good or worthy. The root means one who watches, 
or one who judges who may be admitted into the camp - which also brings to mind another 
monastic virtue or practice, that of nepsis or watchfulness: watching over one's thoughts 
especially, to exclude unworthy or harmful ones, this in turn being necessary for purity of heart. 

Studying the Scriptural uses of these word groups, it soon becomes apparent that what 
we are to distinguish, to discern, are above all "the spirits," the motions within us toward good 
and evil. This theme of the "spirits" is also a fascinating study. A Dictionary of Biblical 
Theology 6 distinguishes four meanings of "spirit": 

1 . Wind. "Spirit" {man in Hebrew) is originally the breath, especially that of the wind, which in 
turn is seen to be a manifestation of Yahweh. There is a mysterious power in this wind: it can 
strike with an incredible violence; at other times it can manifest itself as a gentle murmur; it can 
dry up with its hot breath, and it can hover over the waters, making them fruitful. It is beyond 
man's control. "The spirit (wind) breathes where it will" (Jn 3). 


2. Respiration. Yahweh breathed into man the breath of life. Man is not master of this 
breathing, though he cannot do without it. He dies when this breathing stops. Like the wind, 
man's breathing comes from God and returns to Him at death. 

3. The spirit of man. All the feelings and emotions of man's soul are expressed by his 
breathing. Fear (Gn 41:18); anger (Jg 8:3); joy (Jr 45:22); and pride - all affect man's breathing. 
In man the ruah seems co-extensive with his conscious being. To give up this spirit into the 
hands, of God is to emit one's final breath in the physical sense, and at the same time to 
surrender to God one's very being. 

4. The spirits in man. The consciousness of man sometimes seems invaded by a strange 
power which is not his own. Powerful attractions toward both good and evil can be experienced; 
now one, now the other; sometimes both forces warring for the upper hand ("the good which 
I will, I do not do"). Since God is seen as the ultimate cause of all things, the Hebrew mentality 
attributes all these motions, indiscriminately, to Him, e.g.: "God sent... a spirit of jealousy," of 
perversity, of hatred, of giddiness, of prostitution, as well as "of justice, of holy zeal," upon 
individuals and groups. 

In some key passages the Old Testament begins to give expression to the concept of 
a holy and sanctifying Spirit who transforms from within; e.g.: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon 
me...." "I will take away your stony hearts...." "I will put My spirit within you...." (Ez). The Spirit 
of the Lord can take men and transform them so that they do deeds far surpassing their native 
ability. In a special way, Yahweh gives His spirit to leaders. 

The New Testament pneuma continues many of the Old Testament usages of "spirit." 
It is a source of human life that leaves at death (Mt 27:50). Paul contrasts spirit with flesh, the 
former being a principle of goodness and life, the latter of sin, corruption and death. There is 
also the evil spirit, Satan. The New Testament testifies to Jesus' struggle against Satan's 
kingdom. His disciples also must be aware of his wiles. Most importantly, in the New 
Testament the pneuma is the Holy Spirit Himself, sent by the Father and the Son. 

The Christian ascetical tradition has adopted from two places in the New Testament - 
1 Cor 12:10 and 1 Jn 4:1 - the formulas "discernment of spirits" and "to discern spirits." In 
Jewish literature such formulas did not appear until the Qumran period (and then were applied 
uniquely to the testing of candidates for the community). 7 

The Old Testament does not speak specifically of discernment of spirits. The words 
from which the Greek and Latin expressions are derived were used in different contexts. 
Actually, however, the whole of the Bible could be said to be one great lesson in learning to 
distinguish the good from the evil, the better from the best. We are constantly being presented 
with choices between opposites, and no doubt is left in our minds as to which we are to choose. 
The Bible places before us radical contrasts, the most basic being, perhaps, good/evil (or 
God/world). Another extremely important contrast is life/death. There are also: the 
righteous/the wicked; light/darkness; wise man/fool; truth/error; true prophet/false prophet, and 
so on. 

The New Testament continues these themes and adds more; for example: wheat/chaff; 
those who cling to God's will/those who follow human passions; the hard road, narrow gate/the 
easy and wide road; divine wisdom/human learning; the humble/the proud. 



By the time of St. Paul and St. John, each Christian is invited to be guided personally 
by the Holy Spirit. "Be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the 
good and the acceptable and the perfect will of God" (Rm 12:1,2). "[P]roving what is well 
pleasing to God. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.... "(Eph 5). "And 
this I pray: that your charity may more and more abound in knowledge and in all understanding, 
that you may approve the better things...." (Phil. 1:9,10). Paul describes an inner experience 
of God's Spirit whose results are light, peace, charity and acknowledgment of Jesus as Lord. 
"But the fruit of the Spirit is charity...." (Gal 5:22). The First Letter of John adds that the 
experience of the Spirit has to be the same as the teaching received from the Apostles (1 Jn 
2:24; 4:6). It insists upon the confidence that this experience gives for the day of judgment 
(4:17). John and Paul, then, appear less preoccupied with determining the symptoms of an evil 
spirit than with indicating the signs of a good spirit. Their purpose is primarily positive. 

monastic discernment 

Discernment was held to be of the highest importance by the Fathers of the Desert. 
Abba Moses calls it "no ordinary virtue which can be acquired by human effort, but ... truly a gift 
of grace - a virtue which the monk must pursue with all zeal." 8 Abba Moses then recalls that 
when he was a boy in the region of the Thebaid, all the elders had gathered together around 
the Blessed Antony to discuss the pursuit of perfection. And the question was asked: "What 
virtue or observance is most necessary for a monk to reach the heights of perfection?" Each 
participant offered a view "according to the bent of his own mind. And some made it consist 
of zeal in fasting and vigils, because a soul that has been brought low by these, and has thus 
acquired purity of heart and body, will more easily be united to God"; others thought that 
perfection was to be found "in despising all things, as the mind, deprived of all things that might 
entangle it, could rise the more easily to God"; others maintained that withdrawal from the world, 
solitude and silence, was the path to perfection; others stressed the duties of charity, and so on. 
Finally, Abba Antony spoke, pointing out that while all the things mentioned are of the greatest 
value, no virtue is more important than discretion, for without it the others are in danger of being 
frustrated. "Discretion," he says, "is the source, the guardian and the ruler of all the virtues." 9 
(To get a little ahead of ourselves: St. Thomas, who treated of discretion under the title of 
"prudence," says practically the same thing. And I have read that when the cause of a Servant 
of God is being considered and the Roman Congregation begins to investigate the heroicity of 
his or her virtues, the very first thing examined is the virtue of prudence, since if the person did 
not have prudence in a high degree, he or she could not possibly possess any other virtue in 
an heroic degree.) 

Cassian, who is reporting the conference, goes on to insist on the testimony of the 
Fathers that in order to possess discretion one must be truly humble (something we will want 
to recall when we get to Catherine). 

Discretion is a corollary of the gift of discernment of spirits. It is a question of taking 
practical measures in accord with a person's interior impulses. Each one must learn to "test the 
spirits" in his/her own heart, and to distinguish the good from the evil, as well as the better from 
the good. For the Desert Fathers, this was why it was important for a young monk to be placed 
under the immediate supervision of an older, experienced monk who would guide him in this 
matter. And that was why humility was so essential: the young monk had to have the humility 
to go to the older man and expose all his thoughts and impulses to him so that together they 


could discern whether these came from God or the devil or disordered passion. The early 
Fathers did not speak of "manifestation of conscience," but of "manifestation of thoughts." 

St. Benedict, whose Rule is well known for its discretion, especially in comparison with 
other Rules of his time, was anxious that the Rule be so tempered that "the strong may still 
have something to long after, and the weak may not draw back in alarm." For St. Benedict 
discretion is the ability to strike, in all circumstances, the balance between excess and defect, 
and it enables the individual to determine what is the best thing to do here and now according 
to particular circumstances. St. Benedict viewed the monastic life ideally as being a preparation 
for the eremitical life. Thus he considered the Rule only as a basic framework which would 
enable each monk under the guidance of the abbot or his spiritual father to follow the call of 
grace to its fullest. The Rule was thus never meant to hold each one down to the least common 
denominator, but rather to be a springboard from which each one could rise up to the heights 
of the spiritual and mystical life according to his own particular graces. 

models of discretion? 

When seen from this point of view it is easy to conclude that the choice of the best 
means to attain the end will not always mean the choice of the easiest way. For this reason it 
is false to equate discretion with moderation or "caution" or "worldly prudence." I think we often 
miss the point when we speak of "being prudent." Discretion, as must be clear by now, is 
another name for supernatural prudence, and, as I mentioned, it was under this heading that 
St. Thomas treated this virtue. Now, to "moderate," says the Angelic Doctor, is the proper work 
of the virtue of temperance, while the work of prudence is to judge of and make choice of the 
best possible means for attaining the end desired, whether these means be easy, difficult or 
even heroic. Discretion does indeed find a middle course between rigorism and laxism, but the 
golden mean is not necessarily the easiest way. The "discreet" thing to do, i.e., the thing which 
out of all possible choices of action is the best calculated to attain the end, may sometimes be 
the most difficult of all the possibilities - and may even appear "imprudent" or "indiscreet" from 
a purely human viewpoint. Thus, as we shall see when we get back to the Dialogue, St. 
Catherine, putting her mouth to the pus-filled wound of the old woman who had tormented and 
maligned her, was being very discreet since this was what God's grace was asking of her at that 
moment. Likewise, St. Benedict rolling his bare body in thorns, 10 and St. Dominic desiring to 
sell himself into slavery for the welfare of his neighbor, were being discreet for the same reason, 
yet these are practices which one could not write into a community Rule. 

Is there any room for this "holy discretion" (or sometimes seeming "indiscretion") in 
community? Can communities be led by the Spirit to do things that might seem imprudent from 
a human point of view? I truly believe they can. An example that comes to mind is the story 
of an Evangelical Sisterhood, the Sisters of Mary, stepping out in faith to build a house of prayer 
and praise without funds; beyond this, they made the decision to depend entirely on the 
donations of the faithful - even to the point of not ordering any food for themselves. A current 
example might be the attempt to make a foundation in Vancouver when our Dominican 
monasteries are strapped for personnel. I wonder how often Our Lord must say to souls and 
to communities today: "Oh you of little faith!" In a poem of Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C., 
"Eastern Epiphany," she contrasts the eager enthusiasm of the wise men "hurrying with crowns 
a-tilt" to the stable, with the carefully measured performance of "duty" by modern Western 
Christians: "An hour for worship and plans for the evening" (one hour once a week grudgingly 
given to the Lord, and the rest of the day, the rest of the week, for our own selfish interests). 


"This is all we are obliged to do; no need to be a fanatic about it." I love Mother M. Francis's 
conclusion: "Pity our pale sanity, poor Child." 

discretion in the Dialogue 

Coming now to the Dialogue, I would like first, as a sort of foundation for my reflections, 
to share with you the insights that came to me some years ago when our community was 
discussing it. 

In my study of the first part, which is now called "The Way of Perfection," 11 I made an 
interesting discovery which threw an entirely new light on it, and even on the entire work. In the 
outline of the Dialogue given in Sr. Suzanne Noffke's Introduction, the first petition (for Catherine 
herself) is said to be a plea that she be allowed to suffer in atonement for sin. But if you read 
this section carefully, it appears that Catherine made, not one but two petitions for herself, or 
at least one petition with two parts. We do not see this in her own words, where only the plea 
to suffer for sin is expressed, but we do see it in the response of the Father: "You asked Me, 
dearest daughter .... You also asked Me...." (ch. 4, N29). When I realized this, everything in the 
entire section just seemed to fall into place. The two petitions and response became like a 
scaffolding for the entire section and, in a certain way, for the whole book. The second last 
chapter seems to support this (ch. 166, N361-362). 

Of the two petitions, or two parts of the one petition, the second is definitely the more 
basic. In fact, it seems to be in a sense the very backbone of the entire work. Thus, it is more 
logical to take this reply first. 

"The way to arrive at a perfect knowledge and enjoyment of Truth [who is God] is for the 
soul to abide in humble self-knowledge, circumscribed and bounded and 'seasoned' by 
knowledge of God" [i.e., remembrance of His love and goodness to her]. In most places 
"knowledge of Me" is conjoined to knowledge of self. (Cf. the parable of the tree in ch. 10; see 
also ch. 13.) 

a. In this way, the soul grows in humility and self-hatred and desire for reparative 

b. She grows in love and desire for God, the infinite Good, and in desire to give Him His 
"due," i.e., infinite praise and glory; and in desire for the salvation of souls which are 
so dear to Him. 

c. She grows in love of neighbor and in desire for their salvation; to this end she desires 
to suffer greatly. She also desires to bring forth the virtues on her neighbor, by 
counselling, continuous prayer, etc. 

We can see here a common element: desire. 

The answer to the second petition is: How pleasing to God is the fervent desire to suffer 
for the salvation of souls! 

a. However, the affections must not be placed primarily in penance, but in virtue. The 
virtues must flow from charity and patient humility. (Thus they are discreet.) 

b. Not all pains and sufferings sent by God are given as punishment; some are merciful 


c. Desire and contrition of heart suffice both for the guilt and the punishment in oneself 
and sometimes in others (if they receive this grace won for them with contrition and 
desire; otherwise it satisfies for the guilt only). 

d. Every virtue and every defect is obtained by means of our neighbor; virtues are 
strengthened by their contraries. 

This sets the stage for the discussion of discretion - a most important aspect of Catherine's 
doctrine. * 

a solution for my koan 

Perhaps now we can return to my koan: "Keep salt in your hearts...." If you have the time 
and inclination, read the section, "The Way of Perfection" (better still, read the entire Dialogue) 
with the theme of discretion in mind. The more I think about it, the more I marvel at the exalted 
foundation on which Catherine places her teaching about this virtue. "Exalted"; "foundation"; 
the two words seem like a contradiction, and yet they are not. Catherine in a sense takes up 
where most of us tend to leave off in our thinking on discretion. 

I am reminded of the story of a little boy whose father took him to the top of the Empire 
State Building. They went up and up on the elevator, got off, got into another elevator, went up 
and up. Finally the little boy turned to his father: "Daddy, does God know we're coming?" 
Catherine is like that second elevator. As a true Dominican, she goes right to the heart of divine 
Reality, just as she herself was drawn there by Sweet Truth Himself: "Daughter, do you know 
who I am, and what you are? I am He Who Is; you are that which is not." This is the initial and 
basic "discernment" of the entire supernatural life, and once we have learned to make that 
discernment, that distinction, all the rest follows with unbending logic. God is all; I am nothing. 
This is Catherine's criterion of what is discreet, and the implications are manifold. 

Catherine's biblical mentality 

Some years ago, our community listened to tapes of a seminar on St. Catherine of Siena. 
One talk was on Catherine as a "biblical" woman, and that theme made me think of several 
aspects which were not mentioned. They are related to "holy discretion." 

Catherine's writing is biblical in that, like Scripture itself, it is a continuous teaching on 
discernment. We see over and over again the biblical "two ways." The principal image she 
gives us (it is really the heart of her work, it seems to me) is, of course, that of "the Bridge." 
Here all mankind is divided into: (a) those who go over the bridge, and (b) those who travel 
under the bridge (the biblical "way of the just and way of the wicked"). We have treatments of 
those who trust in God and those who do not; the obedient and the disobedient; good ministers 
and bad ministers; the tree of life and the tree of death. Besides discerning the good from the 
bad, Catherine also helps us to discern the better from the good: we have the three lights, the 
three steps on the bridge, the five stages of tears. The entire Dialogue seems like a Treatise 
on Discretion. 

Catherine describes rather than defines. Rather than asking what something is, what is 
its essence, she describes how it works, how it manifests itself. She comes closest to defining 
discretion when she says: "It is the only child of self-knowledge and, wedded to charity, 
produces all the virtues." We have already seen her description of discretion as the salt or 


"condiment" of all the virtues. Her most picturesque description comes in chapter 10 with her 
image of the tree. 

My own definition, based on a variety of her descriptions, would be: A rightly ordered 
judgment and choice, based on the knowledge of self and of God (i.e., who He is and what I 
am), as to means and their measure, flowing from a rightly ordered love. By "rightly ordered 
love" I mean: hatred of self and love of God; a love never flowing from our own disordered 
self-love. "The discreet virtues are the sign that self-will is dead." "Doing the truth in charity." 

Another way in which Catherine is biblical is in her speaking of love and hate. Remember 
Jesus' own hard saying: "If any man will come after Me, and does not hate father and mother, 
he cannot be my disciple." 

I mentioned above that the entire Way of Perfection (chs. 3-12) seems to be structured 
on the Father's reply to Catherine's two-fold petition: (1) Grant me the will to know and love the 
Supreme Truth; and (2) Let me suffer in this life for my sins and punish my neighbors' sins in 
me. Discretion is not a third or distinct point, but is intimately connected with the two petitions. 

We saw above that "knowledge of self and of Me" leads to three attitudes, one to self, one 
to God and one to neighbor: humility and self-hatred and desire for reparative suffering; love 
and desire for God the infinite Good, and desire to give Him His due, which is infinite praise and 
glory; love of neighbor and desire for the neighbor's salvation. So we see: Discretion demands 
that we be willing to sacrifice a thousand lives, if that were possible, for the salvation of neighbor 
(again, discretion is not simply "moderation"); on the other hand, it forbids us to do ourselves 
the least injury of sin in order to aid our neighbor (cf. St. Thomas's teaching), for this would not 
be loving what God loves and hating what He hates, as is demanded by discretion and by true 
charity from which discretion springs. 

The soul filled with hatred and contempt of self, desires to endure pains in reparation for 
her sinfulness and ingratitude. Discretion forbids that we place undue affection in penances. 
We might be loving this finite thing beyond what God does. Thus, the "discreet virtues show that 
self-will is dead." 

Catherine also deals biblically with the question of "judgmental attitudes." It seems to me 
that this whole area also fits into the larger idea of discretion. In the section on the three lights 
(ch. 98ff.), Catherine had asked the Father to give her some guidelines for her judgments. Thus 
we see: 

1 . Discretion forbids that I think more highly of myself than of another because I do more 
penance; I could be preferring the one God does not prefer. 

2. The same holds forjudging between two other persons. 

3. Discretion forbids that, by counsel, I send everyone down the same road of 
spirituality; it may not be the path willed for him or her by God. 

4. Discretion forbids that I judge my neighbor to be in sin or darkness; I would be 
despising one whom God loves. 

In fact, the wisest judgment is not to judge at all. "Leave off judgment," the Father tells 
Catherine in several places, "since judgment belongs to Me, not to you. Leave off judgment 
and take up compassion." This reminds us that St. Thomas connects the beatitude of the 
merciful with the virtue of prudence, along with the gift of Counsel. The obvious conclusion is 


that, for all of us, the most prudent counsel we can receive or give, is to be merciful - merciful 
in our actions, merciful in our thoughts and judgments. Why? Simply because we ourselves 
are so miserable and in need of mercy, that it behooves us to extend mercy to others. We have 
Our Lord's own words: "Blessed are the merciful; they shall obtain mercy." "If you want to avoid 
judgment, stop passing judgment." "For with the measure you measure out, it will be measured 
back to you." "You worthless wretch; I forgave you all the debt; should you not have been in 
turn merciful to your fellow servant?" Indeed, it is most prudent to be merciful. 

When we turn to the section on "Providence," we see that discretion forbids that I should 
complain or be "scandalized" at the annoyances and trials that God permits. I would not be 
loving what God loves, i.e., my perfection; I would be setting my will in opposition to His by my 
wrong judgment about His love in permitting or sending this trial, judging that to be evil which 
He had permitted for my good. In other words, self-will is not dead. 

One of the most striking manifestations of discretion concerns the virtue of justice. 
Discretion desires to render to each (God, neighbor, self) what is due. To God: unmeasured 
praise, honor; reference of all good to Him. To self: self-contempt and hatred, self-distrust. To 
neighbor: the debt of love, of humble, continuous prayer, the readiness to sacrifice one's life a 
thousand times if that were possible, as also temporal goods (but, no sin). 

Just think! There is nothing (outside of sin) that is not our neighbor's due - not in charity, 
but in plain justice. Think what we could get ourselves into if we were to take this statement at 
face value, if we really dared to take it seriously. It is downright frightening, because I know 
in the depths of my heart how quickly I tend to "draw the line" when it comes to my neighbor; 
how easily I conclude: "That's asking too much... that's going too far." But if discernment tells 
me I must be willing to sacrifice my life a thousand times (to say nothing of my possessions - 
and perhaps that most precious possession, "time"), well, there's not much that could be asked 
or demanded that is beyond that. And it is my neighbor's "due"! Most of us, I think, are tempted 
to pass quickly over the full consequences of statements like Catherine's, just as we tend to 
gloss over the "hard sayings" of the Gospel. We say to her as the Athenians said to Paul: " 
Er...we will hear you on this another time." "I'm too young to die!". ..for it is nothing less than a 
death to self that is being asked. Yet this is really no more than what Our Lord had already 
demanded: "Give to anyone who asks; and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn him away" 
(Mt 5:42). And He tells us further: "When you have done all that has been commanded you, 
say: 'We are unprofitable servants; we have only done what we ought.'" 


It would be interesting to go into Catherine's teaching on all the virtues, but I think we 
begin to see how she helped me solve my "koan" by her teaching that discretion is the 
condiment of all the virtues. "Keep salt in your hearts, and you will be at peace with your 
neighbors," Our Lord tells us. I think that with the salt of discretion in our hearts, we will be at 
peace, not only with our neighbors, but with God and with ourselves. 

How do we lose our peace with God? Is it not when we set our own will against his? (Cf. 
N92.) Or abandon charity for the sake of spiritual quiet (N 1 31 )? Or serve in the hope of reward 
or pleasure (N281)? How do we lose peace with our neighbor? Is it not again when there is 
a clash of wills? When we feel that we are being imposed upon, our "rights" violated? When 
we judge others? But if through holy discretion we desire to give our neighbor his due, even 
to sacrificing our lives a thousand times (to say nothing of temporal goods), when can any 


conflict arise? "She has no eyes for herself, for seeking her own spiritual or material 
comfort.... she shuns no burden, from whatever source it may come" (N188). 

"And because their love is well-ordered [discreet],... they are never scandalized in those 
they love, nor in any person ... and therefore they assume no right to be concerned with the 
intentions of other people, but only with discerning My merciful will [through their actions]" 

"Keep salt in your hearts, and you will be at peace" - with God, with your neighbor, with 


Cf. William Johnston, Mystical Theology: The Science of Love (London: Harper Collins Religious, 

1995), 184. 

Cf. Kathleen Norris, Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith (NY: Riverhead Books, 1998), 83-84. 

My first reading of the Dialogue was in the Algar Thorold translation (London: Kegan Paul, Trench., 

Trubner and Co., Ltd., 1896). The 1943 Newman Press (Westminster, MD) "abridged version" was 

also available to me. 

I have added the emphases. 

Cf. J. Guillet at al. (Tr. I. Richard), Discernment of Spirits (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1970), 

17-26: "The Old Testament." 

X. Leon-Dufour, ed., (NY: Seabury Press, 2 nd ed. 1973), 569-570. I use Leon-Dufour's four divisions 

and describe in my own way the content of each. 

This was in my study notes, though I failed to record the reference. 

See the Second Conference of Abba Moses, ch. 1. There is a recent translation by Boniface 

Ramsey, O.P.: John Cassian: The Conferences (NY: Paulist Press, 1997). I have used mainly 

Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, v. XI (Grand Rapids, Ml: Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1978). 

Second Conference of Moses, ch. IV. 

10. Dialogues of St. Gregory, Bk 2, Sec. 2. 

11. Cf. S. Noffke's translation (NY: Paulist Press, 1980), which I hereafter cite as N. 




♦♦♦♦♦> MYRRH-SiARfRS ♦♦♦♦♦ 

The Myrrh-bearers came of a dawn 

to a tomb, to perform the required ablutions. 

All unknown they came to an empty tomb, 

came to a tomb sorrow-laden, 

came all unknowing. 

Myrrh was a bitter spice, 

a spice of death and sorrow. 

It was part of the song: 

"My Beloved was to me a bundle of bitter myrrh 

between my breasts." 

Myrrh to express their grief; myrrh to wrap the dead body. 

They came stunned, drained of life, 

came to the tomb all unknowing, 

Like walking dead themselves. 

What of the springtime joy with the Master; 
the tramping about in Galilee? the importance of being a part; 
the aspirations and all the stories. How could it end so? 
Where had their dreams led them? 

They came to the tomb. 

Would they recognize an angel; could they grasp his words? 

Would they see him, bowed as they were with the bitter weight of the myrrh? 

They came to anoint the Risen One: he anointed them. 

Whom do you anoint? 


Sister Mary of Jesus 
Bronx, NY 




(Part II: Common Life, Vows, Observance ) 
Let us follow in the footsteps of our Father St. Dominic 


Sister Marie-Ancilla, O.P. 
Lourdes, France 

(This is the second installment of the Commentary on the Constitutions by Sister Marie- 
Ancilla. Part One: "Commentary on the Fundamental Constitution," appeared in 
Dominican Monastic Search, 1998. Translation by Sr. Mary Thomas, O.P., Buffalo, NY). 







§3 Religious consecration (by the vows of 
chastity poverty, and obedience) 

§4 Common life and liturgical celebration 
§5 Enclosure 



Study - Lectio Divina 




Chap. I, Articles II, III, IV 

We are dealing with values: 
obedience, chastity and poverty. 
In addition, under the term 
"religious consecration" are placed 
the common life and regular 

Chap. I, Article I, and Chap. II. 

Nos. 36 - 45; 50 - 53. 

Nos. 46 - 49. 

Chap. IV. 

Chap. III. 

Chap. II. 

No. 61. 



1 . All the elements of our life form part of the following of Christ . 

The Dominican following of Christ is the subject of Distinction I, Section I. 

Distinction I, which is entitled The Life of the Sisters, studies the life of the Sisters at two 
levels. In Section I the life of the Sisters is shown in its full flowering, and in Section II formation 
is explained. „ 

The image of the life of a Dominican nun in its fullness is found therefore in Section I, being thus 
placed in its entirety under the title of The following of Christ. For St. Dominic, to follow Christ 
meant to do all that the Apostles did together from the day when they heard his call: "Follow 

And so for us, everything that makes up our life, our way of following Christ, is clothed in the 
Dominican mode in each of its elements, which are all solidly of one piece and have a reciprocal 
influence upon each other. 

The interaction and balance of all the elements of our life give a special character to each 
of them. These actions are inseparable from each other, and if one is suppressed the 
Dominican balance is lost. Our prayer, for example, is influenced by the end of the Order, the 
salvation of men; our obedience has a special character which flows from our common life, etc. 

Thus none of the elements of our life of "following Christ" is common to all religious: all bear 
the character or stamp of the Order. This is why we must take on all of them in the unity of our 
profession. This is why it is so important to understand that all the parts of the act of profession 
are in a sense on the same level, all hold together, and cannot be separated as if there were 
a succession in their timing, something which is common to all the world and something proper 
to us. The whole is included in a single vow. 

2. The elements of our following of Christ 

Chapter 1 : Religious consecration 

Chapter 2: Prayer 

Chapter 3: Hearing, studying and keeping the Word of God 

Chapter 4: Work 

At first glance we see that Chapters 2, 3, and 4 form a part of our Dominican life. The first 
Chapter has a more mysterious title: religious consecration. 

It gathers together the elements of our profession over and above the former. Our 
profession engages us to liturgical prayer, study, and work. These values do indeed have a 
Dominican character, but they are addressed to all Christians, while the first Chapter is 
concerned with practices which are only counsels for Christians. Religious are obliged to them 
by a promise, because they discern in them a better way of carrying out what all should do: to 
strive for the perfection of charity. These values are: commitment to the common life, to 
obedience, celibacy, poverty, and regular life. This group has been designated by the word 
consecration, because these engagements, which distinguish us among Christians, reserve us 
more completely for God and, consequently, give us new possibilities of realizing the 
consecration to God of all Christians effected by baptism. 

We are not therefore the only consecrated persons. All Christians are basically consecrated 
to Christ and to God forever. But through profession we take on new ways of realizing this 


consecration. This is the justification for the title which, as Father Vicaire recognized, is 

It is the first Chapter which is the most important. 

3. Remarks on the plan 

The plan chosen could lead to confusion. For chastity, fasting, etc., which are listed among 
the elements proper to religious, pertain in fact to every form of Christian life. On the other hand 
the liturgy, which in itself is for every Christian, receives a kind of development in religious life 
that gives it a place quite other than for a lay person. What differentiates it, therefore, is the 
radicality with which all the values making up our following of Christ are lived. 

The reflection of the Church has privileged "the three counsels" as means permitting 
persons to live their baptismal consecration with greater radicality. Why instead of three should 
there not be five privileges? Is it not the entirety of all the elements of our following of Christ that 
constitutes a more radical way of uniting us to God? 

The title which groups the five articles of Chapter I is moreover ambiguous: stressing the 
more radical means of realising a deepening of baptismal consecration, it minimizes the fact that 
religious consecration is before all a particular consecration. (2) 

A further remark: the article on regular observance would be better placed at the end 
because, by definition, it includes all the other values, considered from different points of view. 
Moreover, the title is misleading since, save for a brief definition of observance, the Chapter in 
fact treats only of observances (although the word is not used, nor the qualifying expression 

Again, I would remark that among the observances which favor the "pillars" of observance, 
enclosure is placed at the head, even before observance has been defined. The clarity of the 
paragraph is blurred by this. 

Taking into account all these remarks, the structure of the first Section of the first Distinction 
might have been clearer as follows: 

Chapter 1 : Common life 

Chapter 2: Obedience 

Chapter 3: Chastity 

Chapter 4: Poverty 

Chapter 5: Prayer 

Chapter 6: the Word of God 

Chapter 7: Work 

Chapter 8: Regular observance - Observance 



The fifth article, on regular observance, was largely represented in the first Constitutions of 
the brethren as well as in those of St. Sixtus. 


The first four articles, on the other hand, on common life, obedience, chastity, and poverty, 
had no legislative tradition in the Constitutions of the Order. Before 1932, they contained 
nothing on these subjects: in these areas one referred to the Rule of St. Augustine. Also, those 
who compiled the 1932 Constitutions started out with a plan a priori inspired by the new Code 
of Canon Law and composed a chapter on the three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. 

The present texts take their inspiration from the Rule of St. Augustine and from certain 
commentaries which already existed in the thirteenth century, (1) from needs of the present day, 
and in particular from the texts of Vatican Council II. » 



(The text of Constitutions 2-16, with its endnotes, has been omitted here.) 


The text of this article is almost identical with that of LCO, the first outline of which was made 
by Father Tremel. 

Common life is the essential element of our Dominican following of Christ . "In our following 
of Christ," notes Father Vicaire, "paramount is common life in unanimity which, in the eyes of 
St. Dominic, was the very essence of the apostolic life, of the practice of life in the footsteps of 

"What actualizes our following of Christ is our entrance by profession into a collective state 
which continues that of the apostles assembled by and with Christ and which includes the 
practice of all the counsels given by Christ to the apostles. Among these counsels from then 
on practiced collectively, the first was to belong to a 'college'; that was the common life." 

1. Unanimity, the end of our religious life (LCM 2:l) 

St. Augustine placed unanimity at the head of his Rule, that unity of minds and hearts which 
is presented in Acts as the charter of the primitive Church. 

From the outset he stressed community life: the brothers have come to the monastery to 
live together, to live in a brotherhood which is characteristic of the entire Church. St. Augustine 
gave priority to this fraternity to be realized, because it was the essential characteristic of the 

Mutual love reaching out to God (in Deum) is the goal pursued by all, it is what everyone 
seeks. (9) 

This common vocation is expressed by Augustine with the help of three biblical guotations: 
Ps. 32:1; 67:7; Acts 4:32.(10) 

Humbert of Romans developed this theme of unanimity at length in his commentary on the 
Rule. He saw in it the starting point, the raison d'etre of all the rest. But, he clarified, this 
unanimity ought to be in the Lord. (1 1) For not every kind of unanimity is good. The unanimity 
of a gang of thieves, for example, is very evil; it is not unanimity in the Lord! 


"The first Constitutions of the brethren, like the Constitutions of St. Sixtus, began by recalling 
the beginning of the Rule of St. Augustine. Also," Father Vicaire continues, "with the two 
preceding rules of St. Augustine and St. Dominic, it placed common life at the head. Some 
were surprised at this. Because of the traditional concept of the imitation of Christ, who so 
stressed what were called the three vows, common life did not seem to them one of the 
fundamental obligations to which we are committed by profession. 

"But St. Dominic, at the very beginning of the Order, had placed in our profession a promise 
of common life. In the first formula of profession of the Order, which is found in a paragraph of 
the first Constitutions dating probably from 1 21 5, it is said that in making profession the brethren 
promise 'community and stability' and then promise obedience to their superior. In 1220 the 
formula was simplified, but the first one was significant." (12) 

The end of no. 2:l is a little different from that of the corresponding paragraph of LCO 2C 
which reads: "This unity, going beyond the limits of each convent, reaches its fullness in 
communion with the province and the entire Order." 

Communion with the Order is communion in charity with the other members of the 
Dominican family: the brethren, Sisters, and laity. In order for this communion to be real, 
unanimity should exist in the portion of the Order which is our community. Community life is not 
closed in upon itself.(13) 


a. Our fraternal communion is apostolic (LCM 2: II) 

The text is very close to Canon 602. But do they have a common source? 

Our unanimity is rooted in the love of God: Humbert of Romans says that in order to live in 
unanimity, one must be attached to God alone, for all those who adhere to God alone are one 
with Him and are therefore one in God. And if God is the sole Good desired and loved, there 
will be a desire to share. (14) And further: it is rooted in the love of God-Love, whose design is 
to reconcile all men and women with each other and with Him. Thus our fraternal communion 
is very closely linked with the end of the Order, the salvation of all. It is the seal of preaching 
(cf. Jn 1 7: "that they may be perfectly one, so that the world may believe"). Unanimity is already 
an apostolic activity through witness, and love of unity will seek to communicate itself whether 
through preaching and prayer (for the brethren) or through prayer alone (for the nuns). 

2. Spiritual sources and religious (or regular) sources 
of our common life (LCM 3) 

Unanimity is the goal of our common life, but it should also nourish it. We shall therefore 
consider all that gives it birth and causes it to grow. 

a: Spiritual sources (LCM 3:1) (15) 

This paragraph condenses the essence of the foundation of a Dominican community. We 
find again here the teaching of St. Augustine and that of Humbert of Romans: the two share the 
same line of thought. 

Let us note that the word unus is used five times in this paragraph, echoing the three uses 
in n. 2. This simple notation emphasizes the fact that all that will be said in this number merely 
develops the different aspects of the unity of mind and heart which the Sisters propose to 

Another remark: this first paragraph is woven with scriptural quotations. 


The Holy Spirit, source of our communion 

Our fraternal communion finds its model in the first Christian community gathered together 
by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. (16) It is the same Spirit who gathers us together 
today. As St. Augustine said, "He causes those whom He gathers together to be undivided." 
(17) And Humbert of Romans, inviting the brethren to strive after unity in the Spirit, quotes Ph 
1:27; Ep 4:3.(17 bis) 

What did the Holy Spirit do, in fact, on Pentecost day? He converted and gathered together 
the first Christians simultaneously (Acts 2:41 ); they had henceforth but one mind and heart (Acts 
4:32); they were united in prayer (Acts 2:46) and their fraternal communion (ibid.) was so great 
that the possession of personal property gave way to the sharing of common goods (Acts 2:44; 

Here we have the essence of the Church's life, and it is this common good of all Christians 
which is also the essence of our Dominican vocation. We seek to live it in all its power in a 

In fact, what elements does LCM 3 present as being lived in unanimity? Faith, 
contemplation, the liturgy (praise, the Eucharist), and poverty. 

Concord and unanimity in faith 

Humbert of Romans places unanimity in faith at the head of all the other unanimities: 
"Blessed unanimity which causes all to believe unanimously" (he returns to 1 Pt:3: In fide omnes 
unanimes). "St. Dominic wanted an Order that would live in the unanimity of faith even before 
deepening it, for how could they love without knowing? (St. Augustine). This is why his Order 
is essentially contemplative." (19) 

Concord and unanimity in contemplation 

"To give themselves unanimously to contemplation" (Humbert of Romans), such was indeed 
the specific character of the Order of St. Dominic: it is through the contemplative life - truth lived 
and savored - that the unanimity of the Order is attained. 

Humbert of Romans commented thus on Acts 2:46: " One in mind and heart, they went up 
to the Temple each day. The daily prayer in the temple is contemplation; and the breaking of 
bread in their homes may refer to either spiritual or bodily bread." 

Augustine had already established a close connection between these two values: concord 
and contemplation;(20) and for him the experience of fraternal concord was the only way of 
access to the Trinitarian mystery, (21) the model and very end of the Christian life. 

Concord and praise 

"To be unanimously eager in prayer" (Humbert of Romans): this describes the first Christians 
who frequented the Temple. St. Dominic held strongly to liturgical prayer in common, to 
unanimity in prayer. Cf. Also Augustine: "Only those praise God who dwell together as one (in 
unum). " (22) 

Concord and the Eucharist 

Here again Augustine enlightens us. The Holy Spirit, he tells us, makes us to be one body 
(23) through the Eucharist, which makes us members of Christ in communicating to us the Spirit 


of the Risen Christ.(24) The Eucharist is the sacrament of fraternal concord, the bread of 
concord. (25) 

Concord and holding all goods in common 

The Rule of St. Augustine requires that we have nothing of our own and that all should be 
held in common. The goal is not only to be poor, but to depend on each other and in this way 
to be sisters/brothers who live in total fraternal communion even in the things of daily life. 

St. Augustine had made progress on this. First he had been struck by the fact that when 
the Holy Spirit came down upon the first Christian community, the faithful had placed all their 
possessions in common (26) and henceforth had but one mind and heart. He perceived 
unanimity as the consequence of holding all goods in common. 

Later, he would discover that it is unanimity, the anima una and the cor unum, wrought by 
the fire of the Holy Spirit, which requires that all things should be held in common. This too is 
the expression of unanimity. (27) 

LCO, 3C adds at the end of the paragraph, "...and we are destined for the same work of 

b. Religious sources (LCM 3:11) 

In paragraph I the life of prayer, the liturgy, and poverty are placed in close connection with 
the common life. 

Paragraph II will show how our manner of "living the vows" is strongly characterized by our 
life of fraternal communion. 

At the level of translation: consentientes is rendered in the official translation as: "having one 
project in common." Father Vicaire is hesitant about the use of the word "project." "This 
popular word," he says, "implies a philosophy, in particular the philosophy of Sartre, for whom 
a project is such a personal plan that each one determines it in his own way and thus creates 
his own values. An 'aim' on the other hand is the same for all and it is only through it that we 
are basically gathered together." 

Consentio means "to be of one mind," "to agree with one another" (Dictionary of Blaise). 
Is it not preferable to translate it this way: "having one mind through obedience," in order to 
retain the idea that obedience, inseparable from a common seeking of the common good, is a 
factor of unanimity? 

"Our obedience is not the obedience of an isolated woman who has made a private vow of 
obedience; it is primarily a necessity for community life. The same is true of our chastity, 
practiced in a state of common life; our vow of chastity is the vow of women sustained by a 
fraternal community. As for poverty, with all the more reason, it is the poverty of those living in 
community" (Father Vicaire). (28) 

Thus it would clearly seem that the common life regulates all: prayer and liturgy, obedience, 
chastity, and poverty. All these values build up common life and begin to make the Church 
grow in the monastery. 

"The following paragraphs are all new. They manifest one of the main intentions of the 
Chapter of the Order held in Chicago. At a time when people were preoccupied with 
considering all religious definitively committed in the Order by solemn profession as adults (cf. 
LCO 1 C, VI) and of favoring their sense of responsibility to the utmost, their spirit of initiative, 
and the dignity of persons, they wished to reinforce, as a balance, the role of the community, 
so that personalism might not turn into individualism but might on the contrary bear fruit in 


service of the common good. Whence came the emphasis on the unanimous participation of 
all in the common life (LCO 6 C; LCM 7): the community should take charge of regular life and 
particularly of its penance." (Father Vicaire) 

3. Determinations on conventual common life 
and on reciprocal collaboration (LCM 4) (29) 

1 . The bond constituted by charity (Col 3:14) and profession establishes equality among the 

However "the community is a body diversified by the presence of different charisms ordered 
to the good of all: some are prophets, others apostles... and all these gifts serve to build up the 
community into a diversified organism." (29 bis). This is what we are taught in the First Letter 
to the Corinthians (1 2: 12ff). This text, like that of Acts 4:32-35, had strong influence on the birth 
of religious life. 

It is therefore a question of achieving unity in diversity, which is fundamental in the Rule of 
St. Augustine. To live in fraternal communion (1 Cor 12:12) is to achieve unity in diversity. 

It is necessary that all are open from the start to differences in regard to each one's 
capabilities and to different tasks. 

It is not a question of leveling; on the contrary, the best qualified personalities should be 
affirmed. If personalities are crushed, there will be no Sisters to fill offices, for in order to govern, 
strong personalities are needed. 

2. But there is a limit to the balance of personnel: the good of the community. For example, 
the anxieties that go with offices are for the sake of the common good. And in another area, 
each one ought to be ready to help those burdened with work, without hampering them. 

4. The vigorous actions of the common life (LCM 5-7) 

a. Fraternal correction (LCM 5) 

This is a number proper to LCM; in LCO, regular chapter is placed in the section on common 

The 1 971 text has been modified, at the request of the commission charged with the revision 
of the Constitutions. In 1970 the Sisters charged with working out the elaboration of the 
Constitutions did not want fraternal correction to be mentioned, and so the commission had 
opted for two sentences from the Gospel. But the Council of Fathers who reviewed the text 
introduced a sentence which is presently at the beginning of No. 5. A new modification has just 
been made: the two sentences from the Gospel have been replaced by a quotation from the 
Primitive Constitutions. 

b. Times of conversation (LCM 6) 

The beginning of I and II are proper to LCM. 

Community recreations are reintroduced. It is no longer mentioned that they may be held 
in groups. The revision commission expressly proposed: "various times for community 
conversation..." but it was judged more opportune to use the traditional expression, recreation. 

Their frequency is left to the free determination of each community. 

II is new. It speaks of exchanges apart from recreations, and they remain either communal 
or particular. Their purpose is to deepen fraternal relationships. 


c. The participation of all in the government of the monastery (LCM 7) 

"The apostolic life" which is referred to in the parallel Number of LCO is replaced by "the 
contemplative life." Is this artificial? 

No, replies Father Duval. For the participation of all in government serves fraternal 
communion but also the contemplative life. This common effort to direct the monastery has for 
its purpose to direct it toward its raison d'etre: the contemplative life. Again, it is an element of 
peace. » 

This is supported by a quotation from Humbert of Romans who emphasizes the importance 
of unanimity in decisions to be made. Our communities, in fact, are not democratic communities 
but Gospel ones; they should tend to unanimity. 

The democratic influence of the majority exists, but when the profound life of the monastery 
is at stake we need to try to reach a consensus. 

In order to situate no. 6 of LCO in relation to no. 7 of LCM, Father Vicaire explains that when 
attempting to enhance the sense of responsibility of the brethren, it was desired to reinforce the 
role of the community. They also tried to multiply in conventual life the possibilities for collective 
interventions of the brethren, and from this flowed the final part of LCO 6 (which was not used 
in LCM): "Hence all communities should hold discussions with the purpose of thereby improving 
their work and regular life." Father Vicaire comments: "Here again it is a question of the entire 
apostolic life, that is, of both ministry and regular life. The community takes charge of its regular 
life and especially its penance, and determines it in a certain measure.... It is still more 
important that the question of ministry be thought out in common. Once again", he concludes, 
"it would be good if ways could be found to apply this rule to the Sisters: a question of 
ministries, work, activities of the community and of each one in the community." 

It is in this sense that the addition made in our Constitutions on the participation of all in the 
government of the monastery (cf. Chapter on Government) should be read. 

4. Particular questions (LCM 8-16) 

a. The sick (LCM 8-12) 

Note that Ordination 6, which refers to these Numbers, is new. 

b. An open community life (LCM 13-14) 

The community should be concerned about the Sisters' parents and family members. 

The welcoming of guests, visitors and neighbors is included in the sense of the Rule of St. 
Augustine: charity comes first, that charity which binds all people together. And everything 
takes its value from this charity. It is interesting to notice that it is this dimension of welcome that 
has been retained, and not the Benedictine perspective (that is already found in the Great Rules 
of St. Basil): to see Christ in the guest. Which is, of course, not excluded! 

On this passage, remarks Father Duval, an entire community reflection on welcome could 
be developed. 

c. LCM 15 

This is a new number which takes up LCO 120; 13 (cf. can. 707:2). 


d. Prayer for the dead (LCM 16) 

Regarding the weekly Mass at which the community prays for the dead, it is clarified that the 
intention of the Mass need not necessarily be applied to this intention. But to signify that it is a 
question of the prayer of the entire community, it is required to offer a universal prayer including 
intentions for the deceased. An imperative has replaced the "they may add" of the 1971 

The commission of friars and nuns charged with the revision of the Constitutions also asked 
that the Office of the Dead for a deceased Sister should replace the Office of the day. This was 
not adopted. Why? So as not to impose on those who wished to say the two Offices, or to 
require all communities to say the two Offices? 

In what concerns the Ordinations of the Master of the Order regarding the dead, might it be 
good to clarify at the end of n. 16 that it is a question of the Ordinations which follow? 



(The text of Constitutions 17-21, with its endnotes, has been omitted here). 


1. Preliminaries 

First remark: the title of the article is not "the vow of obedience," but "obedience." It is a 
question of a value and not of the vow. Likewise the word "vow" does not appear in the title of 
articles 3 and 4. This, so as not to place the trilogy of the vows in the first place, which would 
diminish the meaning of our profession. 

But this does not mean that in the Order obedience, chastity and poverty are not made the 
object of a vow. All we need do to be convinced of this is to read articles 2, 3 and 4. 

Another remark: almost all the numbers of this article reproduce the texts of LCO. The few 
changes made will therefore need to be justified. 

Before studying the paragraphs of this article, we need to begin by reflecting on what has been 
at stake. Here is what Father Vicaire says about it: 

"The texts on obedience were the most worked over. They are based on a schema of 
Father Walgrave. Naturally these texts were discussed in lively fashion, for there are different 
traditions of religious obedience. Some would like to approach obedience from a vertical point 
of view: to obey superiors is to obey God; others prefer on the contrary to confront problems 
in community life: there is no common life without obedience. This means grave divergences 
in interpretation... 

"Our obedience is first of all a necessity for the community. How can we abstract from the 
reality of life in community and pretend that religious obedience has as its primary end to allow 
us to imitate Christ obedient to his Father? First I ask myself what the relationship is between 
Christ obedient to God and the religious man or woman obeying a man or woman? The 
difference is more visible than the relationship, due to the fact that we have to obey a limited 



and fallible man or woman, while Christ obeyed God, that is to say, someone who could not 
make a mistake. It is not at all the same thing. 

"On the other hand, if religious consider that obedience is first of all a necessity for common 
life, in view of the common good, they will accept it unhesitatingly since they wish to live in 
community. They will understand then that the state of subjection in which they place 
themselves configures them to Him who, 'although He was God, did not hesitate to assume the 
condition of a slave and to be obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.' In this case 
there is a true participation in the state of Christ, the state of voluntary subjection in which Christ 
placed himself, and henceforth one will accept obedience because one lives in community, and 
at the same time because obedience assures a participation with Christ in the condition he 
freely assumed in view of the common good of the Kingdom of God. 

Our Dominican obedience is essentially communal, having as its model the obedience of 
the Apostles to Christ at the heart of the college of the Twelve and as its rule the common good 
of the Kingdom of God." (42) Obedience extends to the entire following of Christ as do the 
common life and observance. 

All this is in the tradition of St. Thomas's theology, which places obedience among the 
virtues attached to the virtue of justice. (43) 

2. The example of St. Dominic (LCM 17:1) 

This paragraph - the work of Father Vicaire - first recalls the example of St. Dominic. 

The same reference to St. Dominic is made at the beginning of articles 3 and 4. This has 
given the Commission assigned to LCM the idea of applying it to other articles. 

It is then a question of a connection between obedience and the unity of the community. 
(The connection between obedience and the unity of the Order will be noted in II). 

After Father Vicaire's theological insight regarding the preceding paragraph, which shows 
how obedience has the common good for its foundation, it is easy to understand the meaning 
of the end of I: obedience, which directs all the members of the community toward the same 
common good, is the principle of unity (cf. 3:11) and of fidelity to the purpose of the community. 

3. Obedience and the unity of the Order (LCM 17:11) 

a. The text of LCO 

LCO 17, 2 is thus worded: "So in our formula of profession, only one promise is made, 
namely, of obedience to the Master of the Order and to his successors, according to the laws 
of the Brothers of the Order of Preachers. Thus the unity of our Order and of our profession, 
which rests on the unity of the head of the Order, whom all are held to obey, is preserved." 

The text of LCM having been modified in relation to this text, we first need to try to 
understand the meaning of the text of LCO so as to understand that of the change that has 
been made. 

How to understand the text of LCO? 

A first interpretation would be to say that it is a matter of showing why, in our profession, only 
obedience is mentioned. Before appreciating this response, we need to begin by asking if it is 
accurate to say that in the Order we only make profession of obedience. (44) 



Can St. Thomas be appealed to in support of this affirmation? 

It does not seem so. For in the new translation of the Summa, note 1 3, lla Mae, q. 1 86, a 
7, ad 3, states clearly: "St. Thomas does not tell us that only the vow of obedience is expressed 
in the profession made by the Preachers, of whom he is one. This brief formula includes the 
whole reality of religious commitment. But it seems that St. Thomas would be favorable to the 
custom followed in the Church of expressing the three vows in the formula of profession." (45) 

Historical argument 

Here we must return to the text of Father Vicaire already cited, which comments on the 
meaning of the promise of obedience contained in our formula of profession: the fact that the 
opposite sense almost always held on this subject is very certainly at the bottom of the 
affirmation commonly enough asserted that, in our profession, only obedience is mentioned. 
"The formula of the Premonstratensians," he explains, "like that of most religious Orders of the 
time, included an individualized promise of obedience to the superior of the community and to 
his future successors. This promise goes back to the middle of the eleventh century, when the 
reform of diocesan canons was effected by a promise of obedience to their bishop (in Rome, 
to the Pope). Profession commits us to obedience to a superior. It only remained to 
individualize this superior, which was done by the promise following the profession. It is wrong 
to say that in the Order we make only the vow of obedience. We are vowed to everything 
contained in our law. The last promise to the superior is a throwback to a formality of the Middle 
Ages which only considered a person bound to another person by way of a formal declaration." 

It is clear, then, that we do not make only a vow of obedience; but, following our profession, 
which embraces all the elements of our life, we make a promise of obedience which explicitly 
refers to the superior to whom our obedience is directed. 

In view of this twofold light, it would seem difficult to affirm that the purpose of this paragraph 
is to show why, in our profession, only obedience is mentioned. 

What, then, is the meaning of the text? 

Must not the purpose of this II be, therefore, to clarify what is the unique head on which the 
unity of all communities and the unity of profession depends? And to show the role played by 
obedience for that purpose? 

But is it certain that the one who drew up this text established a distinction between 
profession and the promise of obedience? LCO 18, 2 leaves room for doubt on this score. 

b. The text of LCM 

This paragraph includes a modification regarding LCO. At the request of the Congregation 
for Religious, it has become: "Therefore in our profession we promise obedience to the Master 
of the Order according to our Constitutions." 

The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life refused 
to allow the nuns to use their ancient formula of profession identical with that of the brethren. 
Was this because of the autonomy of the monasteries, which makes the prioress not a 
delegate of the Master of the Order? In any case, the promise of obedience is not addressed 
solely to the Master of the Order but also to the prioress. This perhaps attenuates, for us, unity 
around one head. 


It seems therefore that the point of the article is to emphasize that we make profession to 
the Master of the Order, which assures unity of profession and of the Order; perhaps slightly 
modified due to the change in wording. 

("The laws of the Preachers", contained in LCO, has been replaced by: "our institutions," at 
the request of Father Duval.) 

4. LCM 18:1 (taken from LCO 18, 1) 

a. Evangelical value of our obedience 

The specifically Christian aspect of obedience is stressed: the imitation of Christ obedient 
to the will of the Father. Four texts from Scripture are cited, two of which are found in Perfectae 
Caritatis 14: Jn 4:34 and Heb 10:7. 

These quotations were introduced at the request of a Sister on the Commission who wished 
to retain something from the text made by the Roman Commission (R.C. 225,1). 

Each tradition has its own way of reading these texts from Scripture. The best interpretation 
is perhaps that given by St. Augustine, since it is at the basis of the understanding of obedience 
presented in the Rule. 

In a study of obedience in the Rule, Father Berrouard makes this comment: "In all the texts 
of the New Testament which speak of the obedience of Christ, except for Lk 2:51 which says 
that Jesus was subject to his parents, the verb upakoud is used. Literally this means: to listen 
to the word while submitting to the word." " And Jesus," Augustine explains, "obeyed by listening 
to the word of His Father in order to do His will, and that even to death on the cross; He thus 
shows us the way: we too must listen to the word in order to put it into practice." (47) It is the 
reverse of Adam's attitude. (48) 

This word of God to which we must listen is transmitted to us through Scripture or through 
the Church, or through the Rule, which indicates to us nothing other than what the Lord asks 
of us in Scripture; or again, through the prioress who, herself, is listening to the Word. 

There is perhaps an Ignatian influence in the expression of PC 14 used at the beginning of 
no. 18:1: Christ submitted to his Father. In Scripture the obedience of Christ is spoken of, and 
only once his submission: when he was a child, he was subject to his parents. Now it is 
precisely this passage from Scripture which St. Ignatius prefers when speaking of obedience. 

b. Resemblances between LCM 18:1 and PC 14 

The entire paragraph of LCM which we are studying is very close to PC 14, but with two 
important differences on the level of the theology of obedience. Therefore we shall first study 
the resemblances between the two documents, then the differences. 

"By this profession" 

"This" refers to what precedes. Now in the preceding paragraph there was question of 
profession made in the classical sense, then of the promise of obedience. 

The content of LCM 18:1 is different: it refers to what PC 14 said in reference to the 
profession of obedience. It seems therefore that "this profession" is to be understood in the 
sense in which profession is used in PC 14. But in the Decree on Religious Life, "profession" 
designates in a comprehensive way the various forms of commitment of institutes of 
consecrated life. "Profession of obedience" thus has here the sense of a vow of obedience 


since in the Order our form of commitment is a vow. (Its sense differs from that of the same 
expression in LCM 1.VI; 152:11.) 

We may well wonder why here, since without any doubt it is a question of a commitment by 
vow (cf. no. 19:1), the exact term was not used. (The same remark also applies to no. 25:1; 
29:111.) Would it not have been better to begin the paragraph with: "By our vow of obedience"? 

"Under the guidance of superiors who... hold the place of God" 

Here again, it is a matter of a quotation from PC 14, where "wees Dei gerentibus" generalizes 
the "vices Christi gerens" of the Rule of St. Benedict (II, 2). (Cf. Father Duval) 

De Vogue situates the context in which we must understand the Benedictine expression: 

"The abbot is a layman, exercising a function analogous to that of the bishop and belonging 
like him to the category of 'teachers,' that is, ministers placed by Christ at the head of his 
Church in these latter times, after the prophets of the Old Testament and the Apostles, to 
whom they legitimately succeed. However, the Church properly speaking is ruled by the 
bishop, while the abbot governs only "a school of Christ" or monastery.... These two 
hierarchies, ecclesiastical and monastic, may equally appropriate the words addressed by 
Christ to his apostles and their successors: 'Feed my sheep... I shall be with you until the 
end of the ages.... He who hears you, hears me'." (Jn 21:17; Mt 28:20; Lk 10:16). (49) 

Yet it does not seem that PC 14 is referring directly to the Rule of St. Benedict, but rather 
to the Ignatian interpretation of the expression: "superiors hold the place of God". 

This is in fact a theme which often recurs under the pen of St. Ignatius: 

"To obey the superior as you would Jesus Christ our Lord, since he holds His place." (50) 

One must regard the superior "as holding the place of Christ our Lord; one must consider 
him as "the vicar of Christ our Lord." (51) 

"The man whom one has recognized as superior in the place of Jesus Christ." (52) 

The superior, representing God, is no longer compared, as in the Rule of St. Benedict, to 
the bishop, but to the Vicar of Christ: to the head of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. 

This Ignatian interpretation is confirmed by the document of the Congregation for the 
Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life on the essential elements of the 
religious life : religious, it says, "are members of religious Institutes whose structures reflect the 
Christian hierarchy of which Christ himself is the Head" who has for His representative the 
sovereign pontiff. (53) 

Another difference with the Benedictine rule: it is his function that causes the Jesuit superior 
to hold the place of Christ. (54) Now this perspective is totally foreign to ancient monasticism. 

As Father Labourdette remarks, submission is not yet obedience. Submission is found also 
in the animal world, for example, while obedience addresses freedom. Submission for Ignatius 
is the bond which unites superiors and inferiors. (55) Whence the appellation "superiors"? This 
term has a very precise meaning in Ignatian spirituality which is altogether foreign to the 
Benedictine tradition where the abbot is a Father, and to the Augustinian and Dominican 
tradition where the one who governs is the first among equals. 

The term "superior" has now, moreover, taken on a generic sense: it includes all the 
responsible members of religious life. 


c. The differences between the two texts 

Obedience and the common good 

LCM 18:1 speaks of the common good. But this is foreign to PC 14, and also to all the 
documents of the Church on religious life. A single exception: the apostolic exhortation 
Evangelica Testificatio of Paul VI. (56) Probably because Father Regamy collaborated on it. 

The common good, in our^text, is the common good of the Church and the Order which 
obedience aims at promoting. 

LCO 18, II clarifies what is meant by the common good. It is therefore interesting to know 
this paragraph, even if the Mixed Commission (friars and Sisters) has suppressed it, judging 
that LCM 20: 1 1 contains the same ideas, better expressed! 

LCO 18, II thus makes it clear that the common good is concerned with the religious and 
apostolic orientations of the community, which should rightly be the object of the community's 
reflection (cf. LCO 6). This shows us how obedience is related to the common good, in the 
determination whereby the community has its role to play. Our no. 18:1 is therefore to be read 
from this point of view. 

By their human ministry 

Another modification in connection with PC 14: superiors "by their human ministry" hold the 
place of God. The addition is destined to temper an expression foreign to our tradition (Father 
Vicaire). In the Order, in fact, the role of the superior is a role of service: service of the common 
good. (57) 

In connection with obedience Father Ranquet writes: "This divine pedagogy, assumed by 
the Church, [does not teach me] precisely to obey the superior as obeying God, but to express 
and nourish in my obedience to the superior my filial confidence in God." (58) 

We can measure the difference from the Ignatian interpretation: "Supposing and believing, 
as one does habitually in regard to the articles of faith, that all the superior orders is an order 
from our Lord God and His holy will, one proceeds blindly... to the execution of what is 
commanded." (59) 

The expression "and our Sisters" was added to the text of LCO by the Roman Commission. 

5. The primacy of obedience (LCM 19) 

a. The eminent place of obedience (No. 19:1) 

It seems that in this paragraph, "counsels" is used in the strict sense of "the three counsels" 
(cf. LCM 152:11). 

This paragraph takes up the teaching of St. Thomas found in lla llae, q. 186, a. 8, corpus: 

"The vow of obedience is the principal one of the three vows of religion, and this for 
three reasons. First, because by the vow of obedience a man offers something greater 
to God, namely, his own will, which is of greater value than his own body, which he 
offers to God by continence, or external goods, which he offers to God by the vow of 

"Secondly, because the vow of obedience includes the other vows, and not vice versa. 
For although a religious is bound by vow to observe continence and poverty, these are 


also included under obedience, which embraces many other things besides continence 
and poverty. 

"Thirdly, because the vow of obedience properly extends to the acts most closely related 
to the end of religious life. Now the more closely anything is related to the end, the 
better it is. Therefore the vow of obedience is also the most essential to the religious 

LCO 1 9, 1 is constructed in parallel fashion. It develops in three points the same theme: "the 
eminent place of obedience." 

The first point corresponds to St Thomas's first point: it bears on the total gift of the person 
which is made by the vow of obedience. 

The second point corresponds to St. Thomas's third point: it shows that actions produced 
by obedience are closer to the goal of profession. 

The third point seems to me to correspond to the second point developed by St. Thomas: 
"...through it, finally, all the other elements of the apostolic life are accepted at the same time," 
the apostolic life being understood as the form of life led by the apostles gathered around Christ. 
"It includes all the elements of Dominican life, particularly preaching" (Father Vicaire). Does this 
not refer to the supereminent value of obedience in so far as it includes all the elements of the 
Dominican following of Christ ? 

LCM 19:1 differs on this last point of LCO 19. The last argument is replaced (at the request 
of Sr. M. Rose, Ireland) by a phrase of St. Irenaeus found in Lumen Gentium, 56. This phrase 
mentions the obedience of the Virgin Mary, and it is very laudable, but does it not introduce a 
break in the core meaning of the paragraph, which has focused on the reason for the 
supereminent place of obedience in relation to the other vows? The expression "apostolic life" 
could of course not have been used, but might it not have been possible to say that obedience 
included all the elements of our following of Christ ? 

The phrase of St. Irenaeus indicates rather that, by their obedience, the Sisters are inserted 
in the mission of the Order. 

In regard to the last sentence of LCO 19, I: ".. . because by it a man accepts all that the 
apostolic life involves ," Father Duval made this comment: "This sentence, a reaction to an 
excessive distinction between religious life and apostolic life, had no relevance for the nuns. 
The Mixed Commission decided therefore to suppress it." 

Why the allusion to the excessive distinction? 

Paragraph I of LCM 19 stresses the affinity between obedience and charity: to seek to do 
God's will by obeying the prioress is an attitude born of love. Now charity is the goal of every 
Christian and all the more of the religious life (59 bis). This prepares the way for paragraph III 
of no. 1 9, for this love which nourishes obedience is the filial love which the Spirit pours into our 
hearts to make us like to the Son. 

Obedience is again presented as the response to God's consecrating action: by it we vow 
ourselves to God. 

b. Obedience sacrifice (19:11) 

Obedience aims primarily at union with Christ, then with the Church; because of this it is a 
sacrifice since, according to St. Augustine, "every work which contributes to uniting us with God 
is true sacrifice."(60) The obedience which is born of charity and leads to charity is therefore 
a true sacrifice. 


But due to our condition as sinners, obedience includes costly renunciation. 

Now Christ, because of our sin and our need of being redeemed, offered himself as a 
sacrifice, passing through suffering and obedience unto death. 

The aspect of mortification that accompanies our obedience can therefore become an 
interior offering of the sacrifice of Christ and can contribute thereby to the union of all persons 
with God. 

c. Obedience - liberation (19:111) 

Obedience lived by free choice liberates us from ourselves and "far from lessening the 
dignity of the human person, by extending the freedom of the sons of God, leads it to maturity" 
(PC 14). 

Our text explains with the help of a sentence from St. Gregory how obedience proceeds 
from free choice. It is a quotation contained in an article of the Summa on obedience entitled 
"Whether one man should obey another": "God left man in the hand of his own counsel, not in 
the sense that he could do whatever he pleases, but that he approach every act, not under the 
stricture of a natural necessity, in the way non-rational creatures do, but out of free choice 
issuing from his own counsel. Just as he should undertake everything else from this personal 
decision, so should he face obeying superiors. On this point Gregory notes, 'Whenever we 
submit humbly to another's will, in our heart we are rising above ourselves.'" (61) 

To obey is to rediscover the path of freedom lost by Adam; it is to find our joy in doing the 
will of God; it is indeed a gift of self to God. 

6. The communal role of obedience (LCM 20) 

a. No. 20:1 

Paragraph I includes a modification in relation to LCO 20 (requested by the Sacred 
Congregation of Religious). LCO reads: "the necessity of working for the common good which 
commands the obedience of the brethren...." The link between the common good and 
obedience is strongly emphasized. 

The purpose of this paragraph is precisely to show that, the common good being by 
definition common to all, the prioress should consult the community on all the important points 
of our life. It is therefore indeed the prioress whom we obey, but a prioress who has sought to 
discover, with the entire community, the requirements of the common good. This could be a 
source of reflection on the way in which we envisage the role of the prioress, council and 
chapter (62) and on our manner of living out our obedience. It is not enough to have the 
prioress' permission or to do everything the prioress tells us, to live Dominican obedience well. 
It is also necessary to ask ourselves how concerned we are, in community, about seeking the 
common good. Dominican obedience has an obligatory communal dimension. It cannot be 
simply an interpersonal relationship between a prioress and a Sister. 

Perfectae Caritatis brings up the problem of collaboration between religious and superiors, 
and it is interesting to compare this text with our Constitutions. There is no mention of the 
common good in PC 14. The text says: "Subjects should be brought to the point where they 
will cooperate with an active and responsible obedience in undertaking new tasks and in 
carrying on those already undertaken. And so superiors should gladly listen to their subjects 
and foster harmony among them for the good of the community and the Church, provided that 
thereby their own authority to decide and command what has to be done is not harmed." (The 
last line is found in our Constitutions.) 


Paragraph I ends by stressing the connection between obedience, unanimity, and charity. 
All the Sisters should share in the government so as to contribute to the fulfillment of their 
vocation: to form a single body which tends toward charity, our common goal. 

This paragraph should be read in connection with LCM 3:11 and 7. 

b. LCM 20:11 

The text as it stands at present is the result of an important deletion imposed by the general 
council; the text which had been proposed had reproduced that of LCO. 

"Each brother should be given as much responsibility and freedom as possible" was 
suppressed by Father Bouchet and Father Duval. 

The deletion was made because of the fact that our obedience is not lived out in the setting 
of the apostolate and therefore does not require the same initiatives to be taken and the same 

As it now stands, this paragraph emphasizes that authority should be attentive to the work 
of the Holy Spirit in each one (cf. LCM 173). 

We are in the tradition of St. Basil regarding obedience. Father Raffin remarks: "Very 
quickly, with that keen and realistic Greek, St. Basil, common life and obedience would take on 
a new aspect.... In communities of reasonable dimensions, the abbot tries to know each of his 
monks and to discern in each one the charism which should be developed to bear fruit in the 
community. One can already foresee the fraternal dimension of obedience which will be the 
characteristic note of the Mendicants." (63) 

c. LCM 20:111 

The duty of the prioress is explained with the help of a quotation from the Rule (Chapter VII) 
(63 bis) which refers to Mt 20:25-28. She who governs should be "on the alert" (praesse) "for 
the others" (prodesse) as St. Augustine loves to put it. (64) This simple phrase gives the 
character of authority in Dominican government: a service. This was worth mentioning, for as 
St. Augustine remarks realistically, "hardly anyone is exempt from the love of dominating and 
of human glory." (65) This paragraph also emphasizes the need for cooperation between the 
prioress and all the Sisters. 

d. Relation of obedience to the other virtues (LCM 20:1V) 

The first sentence takes up PC 14: "Let subjects, in a spirit of faith and love...." 

The second is very close to the considerations developed by Humbert of Romans on 
obedience in his Letter on the observance of regular life. Here are its titles: " obedience should 
be prompt, devout, willing, simple, ordered, joyful, strenuous, universal, persevering ." (66) 
"Prompt" and "simple" are in our text. "Diligent" which figured in LCO has been replaced by 
"cheerful" at the request of Sr. Marie-Aimee (cf. Father Duval). 

To develop these various aspects of obedience, Bl. Humbert took examples from The Lives 
of the Brethren; from this fact we can see to what a point our roots are in the monastic tradition. 

7. LCM 21 

This Number has more reason for the brethren. But for us, it may touch on permissions to 
be asked of the bishop regarding enclosure, or recourse to the Master of the Order. The first 
sentence repeats LCO 22, I; the second comes from the schema of the Roman Commission. 


8. LCM22 (67) 

"This Number does not express a current form of government; that is why the text has not 
been placed at the beginning of 'government' as the Congregation requested. For the power 
of the Roman Pontiff would be exercised by a Congregation. 

On the other hand this chapter on obedience contains nothing about a formal precept, which 
shows its exceptional character. 

Our obedience envelopes our whole life in a much more habitual way. There is a daily 
exercise of obedience without recourse to a formal precept." 

N.B. the meaning of the word "obedience" in our Constitutions. 

We do not make a single vow of obedience (cf. Letter of Father Vicaire, above). But the 
profession of obedience is spoken of in our Constitutions: LCM 1, VI; 152:11. How should we 
understand this expression? 

"There is an ambiguity in the use of the word 'obedience' in our Constitutions. 

"The obedience of the vow of obedience. This is related to our common life and is the virtue 
which enables us to obey a precept of the superior in view of the common good . It is a form 
of justice. 

" Obedience not properly so-called , which is in reality the acquiescence of love, which our 
profession signifies. This act, this commitment of love is a personal act of theological love 
(faith, hope, and charity) anterior to all justice, to all common life. This 'obedience' 
(improperly so-called) is spoken of in regard to our profession and extends to the totality of 
our Dominican commitment. Unless we carefully distinguish between these two uses of the 
word we cannot clearly understand the documents which use them." (68) 

Let us note that this obedience as a general virtue is close to what St. Augustine means by 
obedience in his writings and particularly in his Rule. Obedience is "a disposition of the soul 
which governs all the attitudes of man so well that it is found at the root of all the other virtues 
and is also their crown." (69) 

A question arises in connection with the analytical index. We read under the word 
"obedience": the sole promise expressed in profession: 15:11, 157:1." Now, can we place the 
profession of obedience referred to in no. 152:11 on the same plane with the promise of 
obedience referred to in n. 157:1, if we take into account the distinction made by Father Vicaire? 



(The text of Constitutions 23-26, with its endnotes, has been omitted here). 


The chief source of this Chapter is PC 12. It was impossible to include the ancient texts of 
the Order, for since them there has been a great evolution in the way of envisaging chastity. 
It suffices to look at the point mentioned by Humbert of Romans when he speaks of chastity in 
his Letter on the observance of regular life to be convinced of this! 


1. The example of St. Dominic (LCM 23) (72) 

This text is from Father Vicaire. 

From the outset, the emphasis is placed on the evangelical dimension of chastity: it is 
chosen for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (Mt 19:12, cited in PC 12). 

"This specification," notes Msgr. Philips in commenting on Lumen Gentium 42, "is of the 
highest importance. On the one hand, the terms 'purity, perfect chastity, or consecrated 
chastity' also have a place in the ideal proposed to Christian spouses; and on the other hand 
celibacy seen simply as the absence of a conjugal bond has no positive value." (73) 

It was indeed this chastity for the sake of the kingdom that St. Dominic lived; he preserved 
unstained virginity (74) out of love for God. This gift of his entire being to God was at the source 
of his zeal for souls and of the immense compassion which filled his heart. 

2. Value and significance of consecrated chastity (LCM 24) 

a. Theological dimension of chastity (24:!) 

The first two lines of I are borrowed from PC 12: "The chastity 'for the sake of the kingdom 
of heaven' (Mt 19:12) which religious profess should be counted an outstanding gift of grace;" 
and from LG 42: "total continence," "in celibacy." 

To consider perfect chastity in celibacy as a gift of grace may appear obvious to us today, 
but it was not always so. It took centuries for the Church to have a clear awareness of this. 
Origen, Methodius of Olympus, Ambrose and others saw it rather as an ascetical effort which 
won the right to a reward. Augustine was certainly [one of] the first to see consecrated virginity 
as a gift from God which ought to be received with humility. (75) 

LCM reinforces this idea of gratuity by adding to the text of LCO: "God who has first loved 
us" (a verse St. Augustine loved to quote). 

Our total and exclusive love for Christ in response to his gratuitous love creates a bond of 
belonging which unites us inseparably to the Lord. We have here an implicit reference to 1 Cor 
7:32-34 (cf. LG 42), verses which play a predominant role in the understanding of virginity by 
the Fathers of the Church. Our consecration has the character of a spousal covenant. 

It is this spousal aspect which the remainder of the paragraph, proper to LCM, develops. 
While LCO stresses the apostolic dimension of chastity, LCM looks to the nuptial dimension, 
found in PC 12: "In this way they recall to the minds of all the faithful that wondrous marriage 
decreed by God and which is to be fully revealed in the future age in which the Church takes 
Christ as its only spouse." 

LCM expresses the same idea with the help of the ritual for the consecration of virgins. 

The last sentence in the paragraph recalls finally the apostolic dimension of our chastity, 
thus establishing a parallel to what was said of St. Dominic. To live in consecrated chastity is 
to follow the Lamb who offered himself in sacrifice for all. It is to enter into this offering. 

If preferential love for Christ is the determining cause of our chastity (Evangelica testificatio), 
love for God and for all people is its goal (cf. PC 12). This paragraph, in a few lines, gives the 
theological dimension of chastity, the criterion of its authenticity. 

b. Ascetical dimension of chastity (24:ll) 

This paragraph continues the text of PC 12 (which constitutes, we might say, the underlying 
framework of the Article): "Chastity frees the heart of man in a unique fashion," (cf. 1 Cor 


7:32-35) "so that it may be more inflamed with love for God and for all men." To freedom of 
heart and charity, which are the fruits of chastity, LCO and LCM add the purity of heart which 
held such an important place in monastic tradition and in the life of St. Dominic. 

The last sentence of this paragraph departs from the text of LCO: the benefit for the 
apostolate resulting from consecrated chastity lived in full is replaced by the benefit resulting 
from it for the contemplative life: to be free for God - vacare Deo (cf. LCM 28:11). The word 
"vacare" is borrowed from Psalm 45:1 1 : "Vacate et videte. " This expression is used in PC 7 to 
characterize Institutes given wholly to contemplation. (76) It is a ma*tter of setting aside 
everything that has not for its purpose continual prayer, so as to live in leisure, interior repose. 
The state of the contemplative life is characterized by an attitude of availability to God, favored 
by chastity. 

c. Eschatalogical dimension (24:lll) 

The text is identical to that of LCO. 

This passage presents the eschatalogical dimension of chastity, likewise mentioned in PC 
12: this is why it is "a special sign of the future heavenly kingdom." 

The possibilities of love freed by consecrated chastity have a hidden connaturality with the 
values of the kingdom and with the profound mystery of the Church united to Christ, which will 
be revealed in the next world. Consecrated chastity permits the realization already of what will 
be the condition of every Christian at the time of the Parousia: each one will be united to Christ 
as bride to Spouse. 

3. Formation in chastity (LCM 25) 

When we compare this text with the parallel text in LCO we see at once that two aspects 
have been systematically downplayed, as Father Duval notes: progressive formation in chastity 
and the difficulties which this may involve. The Congregation of Religious, which made the 
deletions, evidently judged that for nuns the goal would be reached immediately and without 

a. Chastity and marriage (25:l) 

The superiority of chastity "for the sake of the kingdom" over marriage is attested in Church 
tradition and was proclaimed at the Council of Trent (Session 24, c. 10). For all that, there is 
no question of depreciating human love and marriage: the latter is in fact the sacrament of the 
love-covenant which unites Christ to his Church. But marriage constitutes a sacrament, hence 
a human sign with all the opacity that signs carry. 

Consecrated chastity, on the other hand, is not a sacrament. It represents on the contrary 
in a more immediate way, without the mediation of a sign, the eternal covenant of love which 
conjugal love signifies indirectly through the sacrament of marriage. It should be understood as 
the very prolongation of human love: it brings to it this transcendence toward which it should 
always tend (cf. Evangelica testificatio 13). 

b. Education in chastity (II) 

LCO 27, II included this: "It is necessary that the brethren progressively acquire physical, 
psychological and moral maturity." "Progressively" and "physical" were suppressed. 

LCO has a paragraph III which exposes the difficulties inherent to chastity. Only the first 
sentence of it has been retained, and placed at the end of our II. 


The resulting text is parallel to PC 12: "Since the observance of perfect continence touches 
intimately the deepest instincts of human nature, candidates should neither present themselves 
for nor be admitted to the vow of chastity, unless they have been previously tested sufficiently 
and have been shown to possess the required psychological and emotional maturity." 

4. How to progress, how to meet difficulties? (LCM 26) 

The fifst part of LCO 28, I, which returns to the difficulties of chastity, has also been 

Chastity is totally oriented to union with Christ in love. Scripture, the Eucharist, love for the 
Virgin Mary, reinforce this union with Christ and hence strengthen one in chastity. 

Paragraph II. Chastity which makes the love of Christ grow in us broadens our heart to the 
dimensions of the world, the dimensions of the charity of Christ. This charity is concretized first 
of all in the sisterly love we bear our Sisters. 

Paragraphs III and IV are taken purely and simply from the end of PC 1 2: "Trusting in God's 
help, let them not overestimate their own strength but practice mortification and custody of the 
senses (cf. LCM 26: III). Neither should they neglect the natural means which promote health 
of mind and body (cf. Ibid., IV) ...By a certain spiritual instinct, they will repudiate everything 
which endangers chastity (cf. Ibid., III). Let all, especially superiors, remember that chastity is 
guarded more securely when true brotherly love flourishes in the common life of the community" 
(cf. Ibid., II). 



(The text of Constitutions 27-34, with its endnotes, has been omitted here). 


Article 4, as far as generalities go, is almost totally the text of LCO. 

1 . Apostolic poverty at the beginning of the Order (LCM 27) 

This Number corresponds to no. 30 of LCO, done by Father Vicaire. It takes its stand very 
briefly on the two forms of St. Dominic's poverty: mendicant preaching like the Apostles, and 
a conventual state of mendicancy. Let us recall in short what these two dimensions of poverty 
meant for Dominic.(83) 

a. Mendicant preaching (1206) 

Mendicant poverty was present from Dominic's earliest activity in Languedoc (1206). The 
Bishop of Osma exhorted the preachers to "work... at preaching...; but, to close the mouths of 
evil men, they must act and teach after the example of the good Master: to present themselves 
humbly, to travel on foot without gold or money, in a word to imitate the apostolic way of life in 
all things (Mt 10:9)." (84) 


Dominic had been shaped by this mendicant preaching: "the rule of the Apostles" (cf. the 
mission of the Apostles in Galilee, Mt. 10:9), which he associated with "the life of the Apostles": 
"No one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything 
in common" (Acts 4:32). Mendicancy heightened detachment and increased fraternal union; 
detachment was the instrument of union. 

b. No more property, but still revenues (1216) 

Up to 121 6 mendicant preaching went hand in hand with the possession of property. When 
Dominic instituted a religious community in Toulouse he decided with his brothers "to have no 
more property, so as not to hinder their office of preaching by anxiety over earthly goods, but 
only revenues." (85) 

These revenues, however, did not prevent great poverty in the convents. 

c. Conventual mendicancy 

Dominic wanted to carry out his inspiration completely: the mendicancy that accompanied 
preaching would also be the condition of the convents themselves. This meant giving up 

In December, 1219, Dominic obtained from the Pope a charter describing the brethren thus: 
"Having cast off the burden of worldly riches" - they had no more property - "so as to be able 
to run more lightly through this world, they have come to the abjection of voluntary poverty." 

And in 1220 at the Chapter in Bologna, the decision was taken to adopt conventual 

This decision put the brethren squarely in the category of the abject , that is, of the poor who 
were scorned to the point of being rejected by society, totally marginalized. This was the 
involuntary poverty of the thirteenth century. The poor man had no power and was completely 
dependent on others. The dire straits of the cities was on the increase, placing the poor in a 
state of subjection, really abjection, at the bottom rung of the social scale. 

The voluntary poverty of Dominic would be marked by this type of pervading atmosphere 
of want. 

Since the brethren no longer live the mendicant poverty which existed in the time of St. 
Dominic, the substance of the article has been reproduced with some modifications. The new 
text explicitly specifies that the Sisters shall always have possessions and revenues. Yet a 
common spirit should animate friars and Sisters: the voluntary poverty inscribed in the 
testament of St. Dominic. Jordan recalls this to Diana in his Letter 7, but the sense is not the 
same as for the brethren: 

"The kingdom of the world and all the luxury of the world you have despised for love of 
Jesus Christ, your well-beloved Spouse, and it is his poverty that you have chosen and 
adorned yourselves with; this is why you shall dwell in his palace and be filled with the 
delights of his house. But what do I say? Is it poverty that you have donned? On the 
contrary, you have rejected it, and it is wealth that you have chosen. For the poverty of 
Christ is voluntary poverty; it is that poverty 'in spirit' thanks to which the kingdom of heaven 
is yours. I do not say will be yours, but is yours, because it is of those who are poor in this 
way that your Spouse has said, 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven 
is theirs.' 


, . 


"She then who embraces the poverty of Christ does not esteem the treasures of the world. 
Is not poverty itself the greatest of treasures? Because of it, and in comparison with it, all 
things else are deemed as nothing and thought of as deprivations." 

2. Personal poverty: conversion to charity (LCM 28) 

This entire Number speaks of poverty from a personal angle, as a response to an appeal 
of Christ (Mt 19:21), as a conversion to a new life (Col 3:1) and again as a configuration to 
Christ (2 Cor 8:9). All this means putting into practice the requirements of the first beatitude (Lk 
6:20, Mt 5:3). The following number (LCM 29) takes up the communal dimension of poverty 
(Acts 4:32). Thus the two have as their objective to show the evangelical character of poverty: 
the numerous biblical citations used make this obvious. 

a. The meaning of Matthew 19:21 

Paragraph I begins by mentioning the poverty in fact and in spirit required by PC 13; it is an 
invitation to live the beatitudes (cf. Lk 6:20; Mt 5:3). But while the Decree on the Religious Life 
bases voluntary poverty from the start on the example of Christ who, though he was rich, made 
himself poor to enrich us by his poverty (2 Cor 8:9), (86) our paragraph first refers to the appeal 
addressed by Christ to the rich young man, and quotes 2 Cor 8:9 at the end, showing that this 
appeal to poverty had no other aim than to conform us to Christ by following him more closely. 

The reference to Mt 19:21 is understandable. This verse has played a basic role in all 
religious tradition. It suffices to recall here the vocation of St. Anthony.(87) And St. Thomas 
uses this same verse to show the connection between our religious poverty and the perfection 
of charity. (88) Yet it is not explicitly stated that this verse of Scripture is the foundation for the 
evangelical counsel of poverty. Our Constitutions are in the tradition of the Conciliar documents 
which do not cite the pericope of the rich young man in speaking of the evangelical counsel of 
poverty. John Paul II himself, who commented at length on this Gospel passage of the rich 
young man, situates this verse as "introducing poverty into the setting of an evangelical 
counsel," (89) but he does not make it the foundation of the evangelical counsel of poverty. In 
contemporary Church texts on the subject, attention is directed to following the poor Christ 
rather than to searching for an explicit counsel of poverty in the Gospel. Let us note further that 
modern exegetes contest the traditional interpretation of Mt 19:21 as the basis for a counsel of 

b. Poverty and configuration to Christ 

The middle of Paragraph I indicates to us the benefits of poverty in a very Augustinian 
perspective (90) used by St. Thomas in the Summa Theologiae. While in the Life of St. 
Anthony the call of the Lord to poverty heard in the Gospel leads into the apprenticeship of 
asceticism, in our paragraph this verse of Scripture is read in a theological perspective. 

We need to look at the commentary on this made by St. Augustine and quoted by St. 
Thomas: "Worldly goods actually possessed are more loved than those that are desired. For 
why did that young man go away sad, except that he had great wealth? It is one thing not to 
wish to acquire what one has not, and another to renounce what one already has. The former 
are rejected as something foreign to us; the latter are cut off like a limb." (91) 

Love of earthly goods is an obstacle to charity. Thus St. Thomas concludes: "So it is that 
to attain the perfection of charity, the first foundation is voluntary poverty, whereby one lives 
without anything of his own." (92) 


Man[kind], St. Augustine tells us, did in fact turn away from God, the one true Good, and 
sought to satisfy his desire for the infinite in the goods of this world: having took the place of 
being . Henceforth it has been difficult to love God totally while possessing riches: "Too little 
does he love thee who loves anything with thee which he loves not for thee." (93) 

To be converted, under these conditions, is to free oneself from an idolatrous attachment 
to material goods, and to turn anew toward God. But, as St. Augustine again says, "The 
nourishment of charity is the lessening of covetousness; its perfection is the absence of all 
covetousness'." (94) This is where voluntary poverty comes in: since it is a renunciation of all 
possession of material goods, it attacks cupidity radically and sets us on the way of conversion. 
It enables us to turn away from the pursuit of the "vanities" of the world and to lift our hearts to 
God, (95) to "the things that are above" (Col 3:1). In this way we try to realize in our own lives 
one of the goals sought by the preaching of the brethren. 

The quotation of 2 Cor:8-9 shows us that this step is in fact an imitation of Christ, who made 
himself poor for our sake. In this we share the perspective of the Fathers of the Church referred 
to by the Council. (96) Augustine, for example, loved to quote this verse when he preached 
about poverty to the wealthy. (97) 

c. Eschatalogical dimension of poverty 

Paragraph II begins with an allusion to Mt 6:33, inviting us to seek true goods, and to place 
our treasure in the justice of the Kingdom - that is, to consider them as "primary, so that all is 
ordered to them" (98) - while abandoning ourselves to the providence of God for all that we 
need. (99) 

The practice of poverty will help us to do this: it frees us from the servitude (est libertas a 
servitute) into which the sinner is plunged. Believing that he possesses material goods, he is 
possessed by them! Poverty even frees us from anxiety about the riches of this world (cf. Mt 
13:22). Indeed, concern about worldly goods, says St. Gregory, "preventing the good desire 
from entering into the heart, blocks the entrance, as it were, of the life-giving breath." (100) 

To despoil oneself of one's goods enables one to make room for the contemplation of 
wisdom, (101) for wealth is an impediment to the contemplative life "insofar as preoccupation 
with it disturbs the quiet of the soul." (102) Liberating us, poverty thus causes us to adhere to 
God (Ps 72:28; Vulg.) and to be free for him alone (Ps 45:1 1). (This is contemplative leisure). 
It makes us rich with the riches of God himself. PC 5 tells us that through contemplation 
religious "fix their minds and hearts on God," after having told us that religious give up all things 
for Christ. 

There is no contemplation without detachment, without liberation, which for us should take 
on a more radical form. 

d. The use of goods and charity 

The paragraph then closes with a quotation from the Rule, the translation of which does not 
always make good sense. It should be translated, "so that in all things used by necessity, which 
will pass, charity which perdures may predominate." Before discussing the significance of this 
quotation within paragraph II, we shall analyze its content. 

Necessity in the singular has a precise meaning in Augustine. It marks with its seal the 
figure of the present time. There are in fact two lives, that of this world, which is a life of 
necessity, and that of the fatherland, which is a life of enjoyment. (103) Necessity is a burden 
which includes all bodily needs. It pertains to our condition of pilgrims far from the fatherland, 


far from the eternity of God which alone is stable. It is passing, and consequently all the 
material contingencies of the monastic life will cease one day. 

Thus, we must use (uti) all that is necessary during the time of necessity and not enjoy (frui) 
it. St. Augustine opposes frui and uti: uti has to do with our relationship to material goods and 
fa// with our relationship to God and to our neighbor in God. (104) 

We need to be careful however not to think that because necessity will pass, the things we 
use in this world should be despised. For if material goods are used in the service of charity, 
they are at the service of the one thing necessary, which precisely will not pass away, that which 
we shall find in eternity: charity which remains (1 Cor 13:8) and which has therefore eternal 
value. Is it not this which builds the heavenly City? If then charity predominates (1 Cor 12:31) 
in the use of goods in this world, the transfiguration of the heart through this same charity has 
already begun. 

Paragraph II reminds us, then, that poverty is not an absolute. We must be exacting in 
regard to ourselves but mindful that poverty should be subordinated to charity which is precisely 
the true good of the Kingdom which we seek to attain by living poorly. 

e. Solidarity with the poor 

Let us note the mention of solidarity with the poor, so dear to St. Dominic: it was one of the 
motivations for his choice of mendicant poverty. This perhaps gives us food for thought 
regarding the type of poverty which will really bring us close to the poor of today. 

3. Communal dimension of our ideal of poverty (LCM 29) 

a. Evangelical foundation (29:l) 

Holding goods in common is going to be the expression of conversion to God. The 
avaricious man, for Augustine, is he who "refuses to possess in common and to share, but 
wishes to amass things for himself, takes possession of things and appropriates them as if they 
existed only for the satisfaction of his personal cupidity." (1 05) He sees the entire universe as 
related to his own interests. He seeks unity, but in order to monopolize everything instead of 
possessing it all in common. Poverty, finding its expression in the holding of goods in common, 
will therefore be the best means of struggling against cupidity. 

But there was more in the holding things in common of the first community of Jerusalem, 
and the Rule proposes an example to us. 

To have nothing of our own, but to have all in common (Acts 4:32; Rule I, 4): here we have 
the consequence of a far more basic attitude, one heart and soul. Just as we are gathered 
together "into one" (Rule I, 3), (106) so all that we possess is "one" (Rule V, 1). 

Our poverty is completely oriented to the common life. The holding of goods in common, 
in the Rule, is the visible manifestation of oneness of minds and hearts, but it is also the first 
step toward this unanimity. It is therefore both a means leading to the oneness of minds and 
hearts, and the fruit of concord. (107) He who loves his brother possesses in common with him 
all that he could not possess by himself; what each one possesses is held in common: "All that 
my brother possesses is mine if I love him without jealousy. I do not possess it by myself, but 
I possess it in him; yet it would not be mine if we were not members of the same body and 
depended on the same Head." (107 bis). 

Imitation of the Apostles therefore is about the common life and poverty. 


In this same tradition, Humbert of Romans refers to the Acts of the Apostles when 
introducing his chapter on poverty in his Letter on observance of the regular life: "Let us now 
consider another regular observance so as to learn how we ought to live without anything 
personal of our own. From the perfection of the primitive Church you learn that you ought to 
hold all things in common (Acts 2:44 and 4:32)." (108) 

For Augustine, holding things in common constitutes the crown of poverty - despoilment: 
"Many men and women preserve virginal continence, without however carrying out the Lord's 
counsel: 'If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will 
have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me' (Mt 19:21) and without daring to associate with 
those who live under the same roof, none of whom can say that he possesses anything of his 
own, for all is held in common (Acts 4:32)." (109) 

Like Anthony, Augustine sees in personal renunciation a fundamental step, but it is oriented 
to fraternal communion. Upon those who, after the example of the first Christians in Jerusalem, 
became perfect through giving up their goods - according to the recommendation of the Lord 
to the rich young man (Mt 19:21) - descends the perfume of unity (Ps 132). (109 bis). Stress 
is laid on holding all goods in common. 

Just as poverty - despoilment - finds its fulfillment in the holding of all goods in common, the 
use of material goods with charity as its goal (LCM 28:ll) finds its fullest expression in being 
used in the service of the common good of the monastery, the Order, and the Church (LCM 

The sentence in the Rule - cited in LCM 28: 1 1 - is also the conclusion of a paragraph devoted 
to the common good: "So whenever you show greater concern for the common good than for 
your own, you may know that you are growing in charity. Thus, let the abiding virtue of charity 
prevail in all things that minister to the fleeting necessities of life." (110) 

To use material goods in the service of the common good is to be motivated by what 
Augustine calls "social love." As opposed to "private concern," "social love" is characterized 
by concern for the common good (110 bis); it consists especially in a right relationship to 
material goods. Instead of being the object of an egotistical cupidity, things are considered as 
common goods, to be shared among all. As a result, social love engenders concord. (1 11) 

The Rule makes it clear, furthermore, that each one shall be given what she needs (Acts 
4:35), which balances the affirmation of Acts 4:32: to hold all things in common. It is not a 
question of egalitarianism but a concern for persons; for health, work, former habits, and 
strength are not the same for all. This aspect of our poverty has not been put in the 

It is perhaps regrettable that the quotation from Mt 1 0:9 was not accompanied by that of Acts 
4:32, to introduce the evangelical dimension of our Dominican poverty. (1 12) 

b. Practical consequences (29:ll, III) 

These two paragraphs deal with the consequences of our vow of poverty: no private 
property (II) and no superfluities (III). On the accumulation of goods, cf. PC 13. 

Let us note again in III the expression "the poverty which all have professed" which recalls 
the expression of PC: "profession of poverty." Would it not have been preferable to say "to 
make a vow of poverty"? 


4. Gifts (LCM 30) (113) 

This Number was originally an ordination. But since it was the only one regarding Articles 
2, 3, and 4, it became a number of the Constitutions. 

It was the Spanish Sisters who insisted that it should be introduced. It can be a subject for 
communal reflection. For gifts for oneself or for the community should not be requested without 
permission: it may be that the community prefers to give what is necessary. This is a witness 
to be given. » 

5. Practical aspects (LCM 31-34) 

• Work: cf. PC 13 which requires religious to make their own the common law of work. 
As to gifts to the poor, cf. also PC 13 which requires religious to help the needy. 

• The communal character of poverty. 

• A sense of responsibility in the collective life of the monastery (cf. Administration: LCM 
203, 264). 


The Article on poverty includes the four principal scriptural quotations which have influenced 
our tradition in the matter of poverty. 

Mt 1 9:21 , since the time of St. Anthony, heightens the dimension of renunciation in order to 
follow Christ; Acts 4:32 places us in the tradition of the first Christian community in Jerusalem 
and proposes to us the ideal of the apostolic life with its dimension of poverty - the holding of 
all goods in common, an expression of concord. The mention of Mt 10:9 evokes mendicant 
poverty, in regard to preaching as well as to conventual life, which was the characteristic note 
of St. Dominic's poverty: the rule of the Apostles is joined to the apostolic life. 1 Cor 8:9, finally, 
as the Council has said, shows the foundation of all voluntary poverty: the imitation of Christ. 

Implicitly we are invited to meditate on all these texts of Scripture with St. Augustine and St. 
Thomas, privileged witnesses to our tradition. 



(The text of Constitutions 35-73, with its footnotes, has been omitted here). 


1. Structure of the text (LCM 35) 

a. Comparison of LCM 35 and LCO 39-40 

Our n. 35:l,ll,lll is taken from LCO 39 and 40, divided thus: 
LCM 35: 1 up to "Order of Preachers" + III = LCO 39 


LCM 35:11 = LCO 40 

In LCO, the goal is given (n. 39), then a definition (n. 40) of observance. 

In LCM, some sentences about enclosure have been introduced between the paragraph 
concerning the goal of observance and the paragraph which defines it; which breaks the unity 
of the whole. 

The examination of the different stages of development of this text enable us to understand 
the reason for this anomaly. [ 

Text of LCM of 1971 

In the 1971 Constitutions, n. 40, 1 repeated in a synthetic manner, which was impoverishing 
it is true, nos. 39 and 40 of LCO. What was meant by "observance"? That was not stated. 

A second paragraph gave the meaning of enclosure which is one of the observances (a 
term which is not used anywhere else in the Constitutions) which help to foster regular 
observance. This is how LCO 40 situates enclosure. 

In this context, it was normal to have developed here all that concerned enclosure, for it 
occupies a different place in the life of the brethren from that of the Sisters. 


In the 1986 Constitutions, II reestablishes well the definition of observance given by LCO 
40. But at the same time, the development on enclosure which followed the goal of observance 
is in a position no longer appropriate. 

On a simple reading, if one does not know the history of the text, enclosure appears as the 
essence of observance. Would it not have been better to place the end of the present 
paragraph I after the present paragraph II, as developing one of the points which favor 

This point of view conditions the plan followed in analyzing Article 5. 

b. The goal of observance (LCM 35:1 up to "Order of Preachers") 

It is important to note that the former terminology of "observance" in the singular has been 
reestablished; this term was used in the Primitive Constitutions as well as in Humbert of 
Romans's Letter on the observance of the regular life. 

In the thirteenth century it was thought that the Apostles had led a regular common life. The 
various elements of our observance are therefore a way of living out the following of Christ in 
the image of the first community in Jerusalem: they serve unanimity and show outwardly a 
unanimity of hearts. (1 19 bis) 

Like common life and obedience, observance includes all the activities of our life seen from 
a certain aspect. Its goal is to manifest and sustain that unanimity which is the very end of our 
life in community: observance and the common life are closely linked. Observance appears as 
"the source and fruit of our common life." (120) 

This is how the Primitive Constitutions of the brethren express it: "Since the Rule commands 
us to have but one heart and soul in the Lord, it is fitting that living under the same rule, linked 
by the same profession, we should likewise be united in our canonical way of life, so that the 
unity that we ought to preserve in our hearts (unanimity) may be strengthened and manifested 
outwardly by the uniformity of our customs." (120 bis) 


Although it was in the prologue of the Primitive Constitutions, this text, says Father Vicaire, 
has not been taken up, because there was fear of hindering the necessary movement toward 

Humbert of Romans, in commenting on this text borrowed from the Premonstratensians, 
speaks of a threefold unanimity: "To have one heart and soul in God." We ought to have a 
threefold unity, that is, of goods, of manner of life, and of souls. On the subject of unity of goods 
it is said in the Rule that 'all things should be held in common among you'; regarding unity in our 
manner of life, it is'said further on: 'that unity of hearts. shown outwardly by uniformity of 
manners'; and about unity of souls, cf. the text explained here." (121) 

Common observance, like community of goods and community of souls, characterizes 
Dominican common life. 

Our no. 35:l, makes it clear that observance is at the service of the following of Christ (1 22) 
and of the contemplative life led in the Order of Preachers. It includes all the elements of our 
following of Christ. 

c. What does "observance" refer to? (LCM 35:ll as far as "truth") 

"All those elements which make up Dominican life and regulate it by a common discipline 
(122 bis) belong to regular observance." (LCO 40, repeated in LCM 35:ll). 

Here is Father Vicaire's comment: 

"When we commit ourselves to regular observance, we commit ourselves to carry out a 
certain number of elements of common life according to the discipline fixed by the 

"The elements which form by their synthesis 'Dominican observance' are: 'the common life, 
the celebration of the liturgy and private prayer, the fulfillment of the vows, the assiduous 
study of the truth' (LCO adds: the apostolic ministry). 

"Thus defined, our regular observance includes our entire following of Christ. In 
consequence, we avoid reducing regular observance to a few practices in our life added to 
other things. We see our whole life from this one point of view... Dominican observance is 
a whole body of basic common activities enjoined by our rule, with their own balance, 
harmony, and hierarchy." (123) 


d. The observances (LCM 35, end of II) 

The expression "observances" has not been used, in order to stress the observance which 
is "congenital to the Order" (Father Vicaire). But we cannot have observance (in the singular) 
without concrete ways of fulfilling it: there is no regular observance without observances. Being 
subordinated to observance, the actualization of which is their purpose, they are subject to 
change in the course of centuries and according to circumstances. Thus their modalities differ 
from those of the Gillet Constitutions. 

Our paragraph gives a list of observances: enclosure, silence, the religious habit, work, 
works of penance. Chapter is not mentioned because in LCO there is a question about it in 
regard to the common life. 

e. Enclosure and observance (LCM 35, end of I: "devote themselves...") 

For the brethren observance is connected with preaching. Father Duval throws light on this 
by commenting on a letter of Innocent III to the Bishop of Rega on the subject of the 
organization of preaching in the region entrusted to this bishop. 


"This letter," he says, "enables us to understand St. Dominic's attitude. This bishop thought 
it should be understood as the adoption of a common plan of action, but also a regimen of 
common life, a common habit, etc. And this unanimity should have its source in the one heart 
and soul of Acts, as the Pope reminded him. To act otherwise could only scandalize those they 
were trying to convert. This was Dominic's perspective. He did not choose monastic 
observance: he rejected the cowl, the long offices, the enclosure: all that could separate him 
from the world to be saved by preaching. 

"For the brethren observance developed within preaching, it was its helper: for the nuns 
the cloister was the place where Dominican observance was lived out, wholly oriented to the 
salvation of souls. The enclosure was intended to facilitate all the elements of our life which 
lead to union with God, but always keeping in mind St. Dominic's words: How can one be a 
member of Christ without contributing to the salvation of all people? The enclosure, then, is the 
place wherein is perpetuated that singular grace of our blessed Father for sinners, the 
unfortunate and the afflicted, whom he carried in the inner sanctuary of his compassion. '"(124) 

2. The Enclosure (LCM 36-45) 

a. Evangelical value of the enclosure (LCM 36 and 35:l) 

All the aspects of the spiritual dimension of enclosure mentioned in LCM are originally in 
Venite seorsum, l-VI. 

Separation from the world is an essential dimension of every Christian life: "...from now on,... 
let those who deal with the world [be] as though they had no dealings with it. For the form of this 
world is passing away" (1 Cor 7:29-31, quoted in VS, I). 

But for nuns, this value is lived in an absolute sense: "in spirit and in truth"; it will therefore 
have a very strong eschatalogical dimension. Like the wise virgins, nuns await the coming of 
the Lord (Mt 25:1-2). 

Nuns await the Lord in the cloister, and it is the Lord whom they follow in withdrawing from 
the world, he "who withdrew to the wilderness and prayed" (Lk 5: 16). (125) The desert is 
stressed as "a place of the most profound, most continual prayer, that place where Jesus taught 
us to pray." (126) Eucher of Lyons strongly emphasizes this aspect of desert spirituality in his 
eulogy of the desert (written in 426): "the same Lord Jesus, as it is written, went into solitude 
and prayed there (cf. Lk 5:16). So this place was called a place of prayer, since, in praying to 
God, a God himself showed us by his example that it was suitable for prayer...; and in going 
himself to an out of the way place to make his prayer, he showed us where he wishes us to go 
when we have something to ask him." (127) 

The hidden life of the nuns is wholly oriented to the contemplation of the mystery of 
salvation realized in Christ (Eph 3:18; Jn 3:16); it is the contemplation of the mystery of Love, 
communion in the love of the Father who gave his Son for the salvation of the world. Dominic's 
cry resounds in their hearts: "O my God, my mercy, what will become of sinners?". 

But the nuns do not follow Jesus into the desert in isolation; they live in the heart of a 
community animated by the ideal of the Rule of St. Augustine: "to dwell together in the house" 
(Ps 67:7), the house which is the monastery, being a cell of the Church which is the house of 
God. They are, thereby, a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem which the brethren help to build while 
working to gather all people into unity. 

This whole orientation toward God favored by withdrawal from the world is possible because 
the cloister means liberation from tasks inherent to life in the world, so as to devote themselves 


solely to the service of God: "they are freed from worldly affairs so that they may have leisure 
to devote themselves whole-heartedly to the kingdom of God". 

Otium - negotium: this is one of the many antitheses occurring so often in the works of 
Augustine. Negotium refers to all human activities implied by a social life (LCM 36 uses 
saeculum; it is not a question of fleeing the world by leaving inhabited places, but in fleeing 
worldliness, that is, all that would be an obstacle to contemplative leisure: social rank, a career, 
money, etc.) Otium is contemplative leisure, being occupied only with the things of God. 

"In leisure" - in otio - says Augustine, "k is not the absence of work one should love, but the 
search for or the discovery of truth, to make progress in this, without refusing to share with 
another what one has found." (128) 

The otium which for him is lived in community should be united with a certain readiness to 
share with others, for God is the Common Good par excellence which no one should 
appropriate to himself. 

Number 36 recalls that St. Dominic wanted the Sisters to be cloistered. (129) But can we 
say that the motivations for enclosure which we have just enumerated were those of St. 
Dominic? No text affirms this. But it is certain that they were in the spirit of our tradition. 

b. Norms for enclosure (LCM 37-45) 

Some modifications were made in the 1971 text: 

- The former n. 42:ll has been suppressed. It seems that what concerns enclosure refers 

exclusively to the Holy See. 

- The present n. 37 provides an adaptation of enclosure for monasteries which do external 


- The former n. 43: 1 has been suppressed. Modifications of the limits of the enclosure are 

henceforth the concern of the monastery. 

- The former n. 45 concerning egress for postulants, visits to Sisters hospitalized outside 

the monastery and parents who are gravely ill has been suppressed. 

- The present n. 40:l is new: it asks for moderation in the use of canon 667, 4, which says: 

"The diocesan Bishop has the faculty of entering, for a just reason, the enclosure of 
cloistered nuns whose monasteries are situated in his diocese. For a grave reason 
and with the assent of the Abbess, he can permit others to be admitted to the 
enclosure, and permit the nuns to leave the enclosure for whatever time is truly 

There are two questions to be examined in regard to this number. 

1 . How to reconcile it with the norms of Venite seorsum? 

This text takes up VS 8 1 which concerns the question of occasional egress, but by giving 
more responsibility to the local ordinary. While the other norms of VS on enclosure are always 
in force (LCM 37), this number of canon law is to be used for occasional egress and ingress (cf. 
LCM 227: IV). The prioress is urged to use it with prudence (LCM 40:l). 

1 Ed. note: The norms of the Instruction Verbi Sponsa (1999) have revised those of VS on some 
points. This commentary is dated 1992. 


2. How should we interpret "a grave reason"? 

Sr. Eliane of Montebello, professor of canon law and a member of the committee of canon 
law of the conference of major superiors of France, explains it thus: "We can say that a reason 
is grave when the following are involved: 

- The fundamental rights of a nun (health, integrity, reputation, right to privacy, rights 

connected with religious profession...). 

- The monastic vocation of the Order." * 

For "the necessary time" 

This time should not exceed three months (VS 7). But some canonists set a limit of six 

In n. 43, "a grave reason" has replaced "a reasonable cause," in connection with the right 
of the prioress to inspect mail. This therefore becomes exceptional. 

3. Other Observances (LCM 46-67) 

For the other observances, there are few modifications of the 1971 Constitutions. We note 
two: The habit is also "a witness to poverty"; cf. canon 669, 1 . 

Fridays when a solemnity is celebrated are no longer days of Church abstinence (LCM 67); 
cf. canon 1251. 

a. Silence (LCM 46-49) 

The example of St. Dominic (46:1) 

In speaking of silence, our Constitutions cite the celebrated phrase that St. Dominic "had 
inscribed in the Rule of the Friars Preachers": "Speak only with God or about God, among 
yourselves or with your neighbors" (cf. LCO, Fundamental Constitution, II). In the process of 
canonization the brethren indicated this sentence as wholly characteristic of the founder.(130) 

This sentence, Father Vicaire comments, makes clear "how the synthesis of the two 
aspects of Dominican life operate together and transcend all dualism.... It is the object which 
constitutes the synthesis. Our life will have all the more unity as our actions direct us more 
completely to God. 

"Yet this formula is not a creation of Dominic. He borrowed it from the founder of the Order 
of Grandmont, St. Stephen of Thiers or Muret. The virtuous man (that is, the perfect man) 
should always speak of God or with God: for in his prayer he speaks with God, and with his 
neighbor, of God. '(131) 

"It was already well known that Dominic, at this Chapter in Bologna, showed himself deeply 
impressed by the example of the Grandmontines who, in order to apply themselves more 
exclusively to divine union through contemplation, had conceived of both conventual 
mendicancy and the government of the Order by the lay brothers. Dominic therefore wanted 
to inaugurate these two daring practices in his Order. He could only obtain his brethren's 
consent to the first.(132) We thus see a fresh witness to his admiration for the holy men of 
Grandmont in the use he made of the formula, 'with God, or about God.' The important thing 
for us is that it was from pure contemplatives that the founder borrowed the most celebrated 
formula of the life of the Preachers, a proof if one were needed of the depth of contemplative 
life that he ambitioned for his brethren." (133) 


Theodoric of Apolda regrouped three points dear to St. Dominic - those which he caused 
to be inserted in the Primitive Constitutions - and stressed their benefits. Among them is the 
formula which we are studying here. This is the text: 

"Among other ideas which formed a part of his teaching, and among other beautiful 
examples of his life [St. Dominic's], there were three points above all which he asked his 
children to observe: to speak always of God or with God, not to carry money with them on their 
journeys, and never to accept temporal possessions. These things make the heart pure, the 
spirit free from anxiety, and enable the servant of God to meditate on divine things and treat of 
spiritual realities." (134) 

This silence of St. Dominic which he proposes that we should imitate is like that of the Virgin 
Mary (cf. Lk 2:19): silence of heart allows us to hold in our memories unceasingly the mystery 
of salvation. 

The example of the Sisters of St. Sixtus (LCM 47) 

The chronicles of the monastery of St. Sixtus tell of Sister Bartolomea: "She showed a 
rigorous fidelity to observing all the points of her Rule: but above all she was an example to 
everyone in the practice of silence. She was never heard to speak unless it were a case of real 
necessity, and then she spoke briefly and in a low voice." (135) 

b. The Table (LCM 54-58) 

According to Cassian (1 36), reading during meals goes back not to the Egyptians but to the 
Cappadocians. In the Little Rules, to the question: "With what sentiments and what attention 
should one listen to the reading made during meals?", St. Basil answers: "With more pleasure 
than we experience in eating and drinking, so that our spirit rises until it is in no way distracted 
by the pleasures of the body but delights rather in the words of the Lord, like the one who said: 
They are sweeter than honey and the honeycomb' (Ps 18: 11). "(137) 

To take our meals in silence while listening to reading is to insert ourselves in the monastic 

Our Constitutions apply to all reading what is said in the Rule of the Word of God. "Let not 
your mouths alone take nourishment but let your hearts too hunger for the word of God." (Mt 

Augustine is here paraphrasing the word of the Lord: "One does not live by bread alone, but 
by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." (Mt 4:4) 

The Word of God is nourishment, it is this bread that we ask for in the Lord's Prayer, the 
bread "by which we live, not our bodies but our souls. This bread is necessary to us now, 
workers in the Lord's vineyard, it is our nourishment." (138) It is given us for the time of our 
earthly pilgrimage, (139) to stimulate our journey, while bodily food, if we are not careful, may 
cause us to relax it. It gives us strength to struggle against the old self: 

"Let the word of God. ..nourish your heart, while you practice bodily fasting, and let the inner 
man, thus fortified by the food proper to it, undertake and sustain with all the more strength the 
mortification of the outer man." (140) 

But it is not enough that this spiritual nourishment be offered; we must hunger for it. This 
hunger is the attitude of the humble who recognize their limitations as creatures and sinners and 
who await their food from God, the source of life. Definitively, only the one who does not allow 
himself to be weighed down by external goods can direct his desire toward God, can know 
hunger for his Word. (141) 


Such should be our disposition while listening to the reading at meals. 

c. Works of Penance (LCM 61-67) (142) 

Like that of St. Dominic, our penance has apostolic value. 

When Dominic bruised his foot against a stone while walking barefoot like the Apostles, he 
said: "This is penance!" (143) Likewise, when a heretical guide made him go through brambles, 
he said to his companion, "Let us have confidence, dearest, we shall be victorious, for already 
our sins are being washed away in blood!" (143 bis) Father Vicaire comments: 

"The Preacher's penance, while washing away his sins, makes him transparent to grace 
and prepares the way for the salvation of others. Penance, apostolic in its source, bears its 
apostolic fruits." (144) 

St. Dominic's penance was the expression of his sharing in the redeeming cross. Peter 
Ferrand reports of Dominic and his companion: "Crucifying their own flesh every day for the 
salvation of their neighbor and sleeping on bare wood, after the example of the one who slept 
in death on the gibbet of the cross." (145) 

d. Regular Chapter (LCM 68-73) 

Some reflections of Father Vicaire will help us to understand the role of chapter in the Order: 

"The Chapter of Faults which was very important at the beginning of our Order, has today 
died a good death, the reason being that it has been progressively emptied of its substance: 
1) by the distinction between the internal and external forum in the sixteenth century, and 2) by 
the disappearance of the regime of Christendom. In the medieval regime, every religious action 
was performed through personal inspiration and through social and physical constraint: the 
poena or penalty imposed for a fault. The chapter of faults was meant to apply these penances, 
which introduced a kind of violence within the community, or even externally, since one could, 
in order to apply the decisions of the chapter, appeal to the police and even to prison, and in 
certain cases to the stake; yes, some of our brethren were burned at the stake in grave cases 
involving the faith. This was the regime of Christendom. Christendom is finished; today we 
have a totally different regime. To keep the outward forms of the thirteenth century, when in the 
first place we no longer have the means of constraint of the thirteenth century, and in the 
second place when in the sixteenth century the distinction between internal and external forum 
was introduced and thus the grave and most grave, or infamous faults were withdrawn from 
chapter material, would be to live by appearances only, and to radically ignore what the nature 
of the chapter was: namely, a remarkable form of common action for the improvement of each 
one's behavior and the fulfillment of a common good. From the ninth to the fifteenth centuries, 
the chapter of faults contributed powerfully to the formation of moral consciences throughout 
the European monastic movement. The people who entered monasteries were often frustrated; 
they were not used to introspection and hardly knew the difference between mortal and venial 
sin; they were ignorant of the hierarchy of faults and their nuances. The daily chapter of faults 
formed their moral consciences. This is why the distinction between faults reached the 
maximum of precision in the Order of Preachers, who were called to become confessors. There 
were no Constitutions in the thirteenth century making so many precisions, enumerations, and 
distinctions between faults, as did the Constitutions of St. Dominic. 

"Secondly, through the application of penances, the chapter of faults helped to raise the 
religious and moral level of convents. For very objective people, an organism such as the 
chapter, with its exterior penances, including blows and imprisonment, was needed. 



"Thirdly, the chapter of faults was particularly necessary in the Order of St. Dominic in order 
to carry out its great innovation: a legislation which did not oblige under sin, but to penances. 
Since the chapter of faults no longer fulfilled these essential functions, other formulas have been 
sought." (146) 


EE = "Essential Elements" (In full: "Letter of John Paul II to the Bishops of the United States and 

Essential Elements in the Church's Teaching on Religious Life as Applied to Institutes 
Dedicated to Works of the Apostolate." April 3, 1983/May 31, 1983) 

ET = Evangelica Testificatio 

LCM = Constitutions of the Dominican Nuns 

LCO = Constitutions of the Dominican Friars 

LG = Lumen Gentium 

PC = Perfectae Caritatis 

RC = Instruction on the Renewal of Religious Formation Renovationis Causam (CIVCSVA, 1996) 

RD = Apostolic Exhortation of John Paul II, Redemptionis Donum (1984) 

VS = Venite Seorsum 


1. This text, up to the commentary on LCM 3, is an adaptation made to our Constitutions from a 
conference of Father Vicaire on LCO (excepting n. 3 of paragraph II, the commentary on LCM 3:l 
and a few details). 

2, Cf. RD. 7. 


1 . R. Creytens, Les commentateurs dominicains de la regie de S. Augustin du xili au xvi s., Archivum 
fratrum praedicatorum , v. 33 (1963), 121-157. 

(ED.: Notes 2 through 8 pertain to the text of the Constitutions and are omitted here). 

9. M.-F. Berrouard, "The primitive community of Jerusalem as an image of the unity of the Trinity. One 
of the Augustinian exegeses of Acts, 4:32 a, in Melanges offerts au Pere Luc Verheijen, Sonderdruck 
aus Homo Spiritualis (Wurzburg: Augustinus - Verlag, 1987), 207-224. 

10. For the Augustinian commentary on these verses, cf. Sr. Marie-Ancilla, Commentaire de la Regie 
de Saint Augustin. The 1 3 th century commentators on the Rule of St. Augustine did not fail to ponder 
over these verses. We shall quote three who reflect the ideal of common life, that may have been 
inspired by the Rule during this period: 


"'Have one heart and soul in God'. These are the first fruits of the mind, that we must offer to 
almighty God from the beginning of our conversion, as Wisdom recommends in the words 'My son, 
give me your heart' (Pr 23). 

"For we are drawn to God first through our heart and will. If we withdraw physically from the 
world, let us be united to God in heart and soul; thus we can say in truth, 'To cling to God is my 
happiness.' 'For he who adheres to God is one spirit with Him' (Ps 72; 1 Cor 6). Therefore, let us 
cleave to Him so as to be strengthened by Him, to be one (unum) in Him, and delighting in Him, let 
us say to Him, 'My soul clings to You' (Ps 72). Charity separates us from the world and unites us 
to God. So we shall'have one heart and soul in God, if we love God with our whole heart and soul. 
'God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him' (1 Jn 4)." (Hugh of St. Victor, 
Opera, pars III - Mystica, P.L., 176, 884). 

"In order that you may be truly unanimous in the house, have one heart and one soul: but 
according to God, not according to the flesh, or the world, or the ancient enemy. And note this well: 
desiring to lead you to this unanimity, this unity of heart and soul in God, the blessed Augustine took 
care to clarify the reason why you are gathered together in community. 

"It seems obvious that our external assembly is a sign and symbol of the unanimity of which we 
just spoke, that interior unity that joins us interiorly in a single soul, just as we are gathered exteriorly 
in a single place... 

"Live in peace and unanimity. Unanimity is related to benevolence, and peace to good manners. 
For we live in unanimity if we do not distance ourselves from one another; we are at peace, if our 
life styles are not incompatible. And the order is right, since he first urges us to live in unanimity, 
and then in peace. We cannot possibly realize peace in our lives, if we are not already unanimous 
in our willing" (Adam of Dryburgh, De ordine et habitu canonic. Praem., PL, 198, 517-525). 

For the commentary of Humbert of Romans on Acts 4:32, cf. op. cit., note 2 bis, 71, 76. 

11. Humbert of Romans, op. cit, note 2 bis, 76. 

12. M.-H. Vicaire; I have replaced "make profession" with "promise obedience," in keeping with Father 
Vicaire's letter of May, 1988. 

13. LCO, Fundamental Constitution, VII. 

14. Bl. Humbert of Romans, op. cit, note 2 bis, XVIII, 77. 

15. For this paragraph, cf. Bl. Humbert of Romans, op. cit, note 2 bis, XVIII, 76; forAugustinian parallels 
to this paragraph, see especially A. Sage, "Contemplation in communities of common life," 
Recherches Augustininiennes, v. VII, 245-302. 

16. Augustin, C. Faust, V, 9; Coll. c. Maximino, 12; Sermo 71, 35; 116, 6; Tract, in lo. Ev. 39, 5. 

17. Ibid., S.,71,21. 

17 bis. Bl. Humbert of Romans, op. cit, note 2 bis, 76-78. 

18. J.-R. Bouchet, "Communities of brethren," Diskette 80003. 

19. M.-H. Vicaire, Saint Dominique et la hantise de I'unanimite, conference, Lourdes. 

20. Augustine, De mor. eccl., I, 31, 67. 

21. Ibid., S., 103,4. 

22. Ibid., En. in Ps., 132, 13; 85, 24. 

23. Ibid., S.,267,4. 

24. Ibid., S., 272; Tract, in lo. Ev., 27, 11. 

25. Ibid., S. Denis, 6, 2; Tract, in lo. Ev., 26, 14. 

26. Ibid., De doctr. Christ, III, 10; S., 77, 4. 

27. Ibid., En. in Ps., 132, 2. 

28. Hugh of St. Victor has shown the connection between obedience and unanimity: "If we are gathered 
together physically, we must also live together spiritually. It is no use being assembled in one 
house, if our wills are opposed." (Quoted by Humbert of Romans, op. cit, note 2 bis, 72) 


"God pays more attention to unity of mind than unity of location. In one house, there may be 
many men, differing in education and in heart and mind. Now a single purpose and a single love for 
God ought to bring unity out of all these differences. For this, we need to have the same mind and 
heart, namely, to serve God and to love Him with all our heart and soul, and our neighbor as 

"We are required to exercise the virtue of peaceableness. When a brother enters the 
monastery, he will begin to give up his own will, imitating the One who said, 'I have not come to do 
my own will' (Jn 6), and again, 'Father, not my will, but Thine be done' (Mt 26). It is truly the work 
of peace to lead a person to do, not his own will, but that of another, as far as is good. Moreover, 
it is a sign of great humility. From this is born obedience, and from it charity, peace, justice, and all 
the virtues of the Church, grow. While, if I want to do my own will and another his, we will have 
conflicts, arguments, anger and quarreling, all works of the flesh" (Hugh of St. Victor, op. cit, 882). 

29. For Numbers 4 and 5, the Commentary is based on a conference of Father Duval on the 
Constitutions, given at Lourdes in 1971. 

29 bis. J.-R. Bouchet, "The Call," Diskette 80001. 

(ED.: Notes 30 through 41 pertain to the text of the Constitutions and are omitted here). 

42. M.-H. Vicaire, "The Dominican sequela Christi," conference (Chalais, 1969). 

43. St. Thomas Aquinas, Sum. Th. Ha Mae, q. 104; cf. M. Labourdette, "The common good, foundation 
of obedience" in Le probleme de /'obedience, collection, 1 st point, N. 8 (Paris: Apostolat des editions, 
1969), 59-77. 

44. A.-H. Thomas, "La profession religieuse des dominicains; formule, ceremonie, histoire", in Archivum 
Fratrum Praedicatorum , 39, 1969, 20-23 (quoted in J.M.R. Tillard, Devant Dieu et pour le monde, 
Le projet des religieux (Paris: Cerf, 1974), 396, note 130. 

45. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Sum. Th., v. 3 (Paris: Cerf, 1985), 1076. 

46. M.-H. Vicaire, Letter, May 1988. 

47. Cf. Augustine, Tract, in lo. Ev., 25, 16; 41, 7; De Gen. adlitt., VIII, 14, 32; De Trin., XIII, 17, 22. 

48. Ibid., Tract, in lo. Epist., 8, 6. 

49. A. de Vogue, La Regie de saint Benoit, Commentaire doctrinal et spirituel, v. VII (Paris: Cerf, 1977), 

50. Ignatius, Letter 38, 7. 

51. Ibid., 88, 4. 

52. Ibid, 37. 

53. Cf. EE 49. 

54. Cf. Ignatius, Letter 88, 26-27. 

55. Cf. Ibid., 38, 5 and 37. 

56. Cf. ET, 25. 

57. Cf. Rule of St. Augustine, 7. 

58. J.-G. Ranquet, Conseils evangeliques et maturite humaine (Paris: Descleede Brouwer, 1968), 115. 

59. Ignatius, Letter 88, 23. 

59 bis. St. Thomas Aquinas, ST. Ila llae, q. 186, a. 2, corpus. 

60. Augustine, De civ. Dei, 10, 6. 

61. St. Thomas Aquinas, S.T. Ila llae, q. 104,a. 1, ad 1. 

62. Cf. Humbert of Romans, De officiis ordinis , Ch. XXI, in Opera de vita regular!, v. 2 (Rome: 1889), 

63. P. Raffin, "La tradition dominicaine de I'obeissance religieuse," (Paris: Cerf, 1985), 40 (cf. Petites 
Regies, q. 152). Cf. Bl. Humbert of Romans, op. cit, note 62, Ch. 5, 205: "The prior should know, 
interiorly and externally, the natures, temperaments, and dispositions of his friars, and should not 


treat all in the same way. He should adapt himself to each one according to his own dispositions 
as far as reason and religion allow, and saving sin, should share their weaknesses and defects, 
moral as well as physical." 
63 bis. For a Dominican comment on this sentence of the Rule, cf. Bl. Humbert of Romans, op. cit, note 
2 bis, 543-547. 

64. Augustine, Epist. 134, 2; S., 46, 2; 340, 1; S. Morin guelf., 32, 1. 

65. Ibid., En. in Ps. 1,. 1. 

66. Bl. Humbert of Romans, Epistola, op. cit, note 2 bis, Ch. VI-XIV, 4-10. 

67. The commentary on this Number is by Pere Duval (1971). 

68. M.-H. Vicaire, Letter of Sept. 24, 1 988. 

69. M.-F. Berrouard; cf. Augustine, De bono conj., 24, 32; En. in Ps., 71, s. 2, 6. 

(ED.: Notes 70 and 71 pertain to the text of the Constitutions and are omitted here.) 

72. The titles are those of P. Duval. 

73. Philips, LEglise et son mystere au deuxieme concile du Vatican. Histoire, texte et commentaire de 
la constitution Lumen Gentium, v. II (Paris: Desclee, 1968), 106. 

74. Process of canonization, Bologna, 5. 

75. Cf. Augustine, De sancta virg., 31. 

76. J. Leclerq, "La vie contemplative et le monachisme d'apres Vatican II," Gregorianum , 47 (1966): 

(ED.: Notes 77 through 82 pertain to the text of the Constitutions and are omitted here). 

83. Cf. M.-H. Vicaire, Dominique et ses Precheurs (Paris: Ed. universitaires Fribourg Suisse, Ed. du 
Cerf, 1977), 222-265. 

84. Cernai, 21, in M.-H. Vicaire, Saint Dominique et ses freres, Evangile ou croisade? (Paris: Cerf, 
1967), 60. 

85. Jordan of Saxony, Libellus, 42; op. cit, note 83, p. 231. 

86. PC 1 3; cf. LG 42. 

87. Cf. Athanasius, Life of St. Antony, 2. 

88. St. Thomas Aquinas, ST. Ila llae, q. 186, a. 3, corpus. 

89. RDA. 

90. Cf. I. Bochet, Le desirde Dieu ( Paris: Etudes Augustiniennes, 1982), 78-90. 

91. Augustine, Epist. 31, quoted in St. Thomas Aquinas, ST., Ila llae, q. 186, a. 3, corpus. 

92. St. Thomas Aquinas, ibid. 

93. Augustine, Cont, X, 29, quoted in St. Thomas Aquinas, ibid. 

94. Augustine, 83 q., q. 36, quoted in St. Thomas, ibid. 

95. Cf. Rule of St. Augustine, I, 6. 

96. J. Leclerq, "L'exemple de Christ, 'De riche il s'est fait pauvre' ", Aspects du monachisme hier et 
aujourd'hui (Les editions de la Source, 1968), 51-67. 

97. Cf. Augustine, Sermo 36, 3; 14, 9. 

98. Augustine, De sermone Domini in monte, II, 17, 56. 

99. Cf. Ibid., quoted in St. Thomas Aquinas, ST., Ila llae, q. 186, a. 3, ad 2. 

100. Gregory, In Ev., I, 15, quoted in St. Thomas Aquinas, ST., Ila llae, q. 186, a. 3, ad 4. 

101. St. Thomas Aquinas, ST., Ila llae, q. 186, a. 3, ad 3. 

102. Ibid., ad 4. The same perspective is found in Augustine's Letter to Proba on prayer. He presents 
detachment from the goods of this world, poverty, as the very condition of prayer {Epist 130). 

103. Cf. Augustine, Sermo 179, 4; 103, 5. 


104. F. Cayre, "frui et uti," in I'Annee theoloqique , fascicule I (1949): 50-53. 

105. E. Gilson, Introduction a I'etude de saint Augustin, Coll. "Etudes de philosophie medievale", 11 
(Paris: Vrin, 1943), 154. Cf. Augustine: "Whence comes discord among brothers? What causes 
trouble in the most tenderly united families?... Is it not because their souls are attached to this 
world, that they think only of what they share, and seek to increase it, multiply their possessions, 
and seek to find unity in what they possess, only when their possessions are separate from those 
of their brothers...?" (S., 359, 2). Cf. Hugh of St. Victor, op. cit, 882-884. 

106. Cf. Augustine, S., 355; 356. 

107. Augustine, De op. monach., 25, 32. 
107 bis. Ibid., S. Dionysius, 19, 4. 

108. Bl. Humbert of Romans, op. cit., note 41, Ch. XV, 10. 

109. Augustine, De sanct. virg., 45, 46. 

109 bis. Cf. Ibid., C. litt. Pet, II, 239. 

110. Rule of St. Augustine, V., 2. 

110 bis. Cf. Augustine, De gen. ad litt., XI, 15, 20. 

111. Cf. Ibid., En. in Ps. 131, 5. 

112. Reference could have been made to commentaries on the Rule of St. Augustine of the 1 3 th century. 
Cf. Hugh of St. Victor, op. cit., 884: "'Call nothing your own, but have everything in common'.... On 
this subject, we must emphasize the great difference between brothers in the flesh and spiritual 
brothers. The first divide what is common to them; here, one seeks not what is one's own, but what 
belongs to Jesus Christ. This proximity is worth more than the other: the one destroys, the other 
increases. One contains the seed of division, the other develops. One passes away with the world, 
the other lasts into the next world. It is for the one that we live in the same way in this house; that 
we remain so in the heavenly Kingdom. 'We are children of God,' says the Apostle, 'but what we 
shall be is not yet clear to us'... We should therefore possess nothing of our own, but everything 
should be held in common In this world, men are attached to many interests: for one it is silver and 
gold, for another, house and family; for this one fame, power and glory, for that one business, to 
each his own treasure. 

"But the portion of religious is God Himself. As for us, if we wish to possess this portion, this 
inheritance that is the Lord, let us show ourselves worthy of possessing Him and of being 
possessed by Him. If we wish God as our inheritance, let us possess nothing outside of Him. The 
man for whom God is not enough is truly avaricious! If we seek something else, the gift of 
persuasive speech, gold, silver, lands, God will refuse to be counted as one of these goods." 

113. This is Father Duval's comment (1971). 

(ED.: Notes 114 through 119 pertain to the text of the Constitutions and are omitted here). 

119 bis. Cf. Prologue of the Primitive Constitutions of the brethren; Const, of St. Sixtus, 1, 

120. M.-H. Vicaire. 

120 bis. M.-H. Vicaire, "Primitive Constitutions", in Saint Dominique, la vie apostolique (Paris: Cerf, 
1965), 162. 

121. Bl. Humbert of Romans, "Expositio Magistri Humberti super constitutiones fratrum praedicatorum", 
in Opera de vita regular!, v. II (Rome, 1889), 4. 

122. "To follow Christ, to imitate Christ more closely" is an Ignatian expression used by the Council (cf. 
LG 42-44; PC 1) to characterize the following of Christ in religious life. Cf. Ignatius, Spiritual 
Exercises, n. 167. 

122 bis. The word discipline is used here in the sense of Citeaux: Cistercian observance; cf. J. Leclerq, 
article "Discipline," Dictionnaire de Spiritualite, XXII-XXIII, col. 1294. 

123. M.-H. Vicaire, "La sequela Christi dominicaine," conference, Chalais, 1969. 

124. Jordan of Saxony, Libellus, 12. 


125. Cf. VS, introduction. Secedentem in deserto. The verb secedere, used in the Gospels when Jesus 
withdrew from the crowd or entered the solitude of the desert, has given us secessus: retreat from 
the world (cf. LCM 1: V; 36). Cf. J. Leclerq, "La retraite," Chances de la spirituality occidentale 
(Paris: Cerf, 1966), 331. 

126. Cf. J.-R. Bouchet, "Partirau desert", Diskette 80004. 

127. Eucher, Eloge du desert, 228, in M.-J. Rouet de Journel, Textes ascetiques des Peres de I'Eglise, 
(Fribourg: Ed. Herder, 1947), 404. 

128. Augustine, De civ. Dei, XIX, 19. 

129. M.-H. Vicaire, Histoire de saint Dominique, v. I, Un homme evangelique (Paris: Cerf, 1982), 258- 

130. Primitive Constitutions, Dist. II, Ch. XXXI; cf. Process of canonization, Bologna, 37-41, 47. 

131. Sententiarum Stephani Grandimontensis, Ch. XXX, 2. PL. 204, 1 1 02 B. These religious were called 
the "good gentlemen" of Grandmont. 

132. Cf. M.-H. Vicaire, op. cit, note 83, 244. 

133. Cf. M.-H. Vicaire, "La Constitution fondamentale des Freres Precheurs," La vie dominicaine de 
Fribourg, (July-August 1973), n. 4:296. 

134. Thierry d'Apolda, Livre surla vie etla mortde saint Dominique, n. 228, translated by I'Abbe A. Cure 
(Paris: International Catholic Library of the work of St. Paul, 1887), 294. 

135. Chroniques du monastere de San Sisto et de San Domenico e Sisto a Rome, v. I (Levanto, 1919), 

136. Cassian, Inst, IV, 17. 

137. St. Basil, Petites regies, q. 180; cf. St. Basil, Les regies monastiques (Maredsous, 1969), 266. 

138. Augustine, Sermo 56, 10; cf. 103, 6. 

139. Ibid., 57, 7. 

140. Ibid, 205, 1. 

141. Ibid.; cf. En in Ps. 42, 1; 106, 6, 11. 

142. Cf. M.-H. Vicaire, op. cit, note 83, 260; 266-267. 

143. Process of canonization, Bologna, 27. 
143 bis. Frachet, II, 2. 

144. M.-H. Vicaire, op. cit, note 83, 260.. 

145. Ferrand, 22. 

146. M.-H. Vicaire, Commentary on LCO 7, 2. For a reflection on the Chapter of today, it might be well 
to consult: Tillard, J.-M.-R, Les religieux au coeurde lEglise: Problemes de la vie religieuse (Paris: 
Cerf, 1969), 97-100. 




Sr. Mary Thomas, O.P. 
Buffalo, NY 


THE RED HAT by Ralph Mclnerny, Ignatius Press, 1998, 585 pages, sewn hardcover, 

How many ways can you tell a story? There is the news report, the interview; you can write 
straight history, drama, poetry, or fiction. Beyond words, you can tell your story in stone or 
marble or glass, in music, dance, on canvas or screen, as is so well attested by the 
internationally renowned historian Guy Beduelle O.P. in his current history of the Church. There 
are as many ways to tell a story as there are people. 

Ralph Mclnerny has elected to tell his story in the form of a carefully crafted detective thriller, 
a can't-put-it-down book that keeps you in suspense up to the next to last page. On which page 
you breathe a sigh of incredulous relief. Mclnerny has drawn you into his story. You're a part 
of it; it is part of you. 

This is true in more than a purely aesthetic sense. "The Red Hat" is about the Church, about 
America, and about the Church in America, where it gets very close to home. If Thomas 
Lannon, Archbishop of Washington DC and president of the NCCB, is the protagonist in this 
tale, and Father Frank Bailey the liberal antagonist, their boyhood friend Jim Morrow, retired 
Notre Dame professor and newly appointed ambassador to the Holy See, functions as a Greek 
chorus, reflecting Mclnerny's mindset, indeed imaging the author. 

Archbishop Lannan has an insatiable desire for the red hat, symbol of the top rung of the 
ecclesiastical ladder, bar Pope. He has quietly and persistently worked the usual channels 
open to a Church politician, including the Rector of the North American College in Rome and 
the papal nuncio in Washington, without tangible results, although rumor has it that the aged 
Pope is drawing up a list of twenty new Cardinals, the names to be announced shortly. Then 
fate plays into the Archbishop's hands. 

Leslie Norman, recently appointed as Justice to the Supreme Court, a Catholic and self- 
admitted lesbian, is refused Communion by her pastor in Arlington, Virginia. Furthermore, New 
York's outspoken Cardinal condemns Norman's perverted sexual life from the pulpit of St. 
Patrick's Cathedral. At this point Archbishop Lannon, as president of the Conference, comes 
under fierce pressure from conservative Catholics to back his fellow churchmen. But in a homily 
in St. Matthew's Cathedral he waffles, aiming to save face for the President regarding his recent 
appointment to the bench, and to project an image of his own compassionate understanding. 
He is now in position for acknowledgment from the administration. 

With Lannan's diplomatic suggestion that James Murray, retired Notre Dame professor and 
author of the current bestseller, The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America, might 

1 Both of these reviews are reprinted with permission of the National Catholic Register. 


bean appropriate Presidential nominee for the lapsed post of American ambassador to the Holy 
See, the plot gathers momentum and rollicks at roller coaster speed over the terrain of the 
United States and Italy. 

The startling prologue of the book now falls into place. In straightforward, classic fashion, the 
audience has already been made privy to the key facts of a recent murder on the West Coast, 
or so it thinks. The stage is set for the play of plot and counterplot, muted scandal and political 
machinations, ideals and human foibles - the whole human condition - against a backdrop of 
Church/state polarity. 

Within the fascinating framework of a mystery story well told, what is Mclnerny saying? 
Revealing is the discussion between Jim Morrow, author of the best seller, The Decline and Fall 
of the American Catholic Church, and the Dominican Jordan Boone, who asks, 

"How do you yourself see these events?" 

"I am trying to make them visible to others." 

"But what do you take them to mean?" 

"I am a historian, not a theologian." 

"Meaning what?" 

"I am trying to provide the basis for the kind of judgment you're asking me for. Has the direction 
the Church has taken been for the good or for the bad, or is it a little bit of each? That is not for 
me to decide, not in this book." 

And so we have a factual picture, gruesome in its accuracy, of the Church in this country over 
the past four decades and into the Third Millennium. Thrown in for the novelist's good measure 
are the deaths of two popes, an election, an incipient schism, an anti-Pope, and a scheme for 
Vatican Council III, to be held in Avignon. Gruesome, yet not without hope, because the picture 
is realistic and therefore transcends this three dimensional world. It introduces the supernatural 
- the air we breathe if we would be fully alive. 

True to the detective story genre, the Dickensian weave of plots and subplots, replete with 
exquisitely drawn minor characters, is finally resolved, to the reader's wonder and satisfaction. 

The study of Archbishop Thomas Lannon may be said to encapsulate the theme of this book. 
When the story opens he is motivated unabashedly by his lust for the red hat, and determines 
to use Jim Morrow, despite their lifelong friendship, as his political trump card in the 
ecclesiastical game. Yet he vacillates, and goes to Gethsemani Abbey to make a private retreat 
and to reconsider his values On his last day at Gethsemani, he receives word from the nuncio 
in Washington that his name is on the list of the twenty new cardinals. 
The die is cast. He flies to Rome. At the Fiumicino airport he is kidnaped and stashed away 
for three days. In that interval, in a lightless, windowless, soundproof cell, facing the probability 
of death, the Archbishop grows to new stature. 

"He smiled in the dark. Among his new certainties was that Thomas Lannan would never be 
invested as a cardinal. The thought was liberating. How he had wanted that honor. How he 
had convinced himself that it was an impersonal desire, for his archdiocese, for his country, that 
he himself did not matter. But it had mattered greatly to him that he should be raised to that 
penultimate level in the Church. Now he knew it would not happen, and he thanked God that 
the realization carried no pain. His captors had done him the great service of freeing him once 


and for all from his ambition. But it was not for their reasons that he renounced the red hat" (p. 

The Church, like this man, is compact of dark and light, agony and peace. Inevitably, we are 
reminded of the final words of Matthew's Gospel: "I am with you always, to the close of the 



by Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, OP; Ignatius, 1998, 218 pages, soft-cover, $14.95 

The reproduction of a detail of Fra Angelico's Sermon on the Mount on the cover of this book 
was surely inspired. Together with the title, "Loving the Church" it captures the essence of the 
five-day retreat preached by Cardinal Schonborn to the Papal household, gathered in an 
intimate group one week in Lent to pursue the spiritual exercises together. Christ, the central 
figure in the painting, holds a scroll in one hand and raises the other to the heavens, which glow 
in azure splendor above the tawny rocks. The Twelve are seated informally in a circle below 
him, the greens, reds and blues of their robes blending imperceptibly into the gold of the Mount 
and catching up, like echoes, all the shades in Christ's vesture. They are wrapped in "living 
communion with Jesus Christ" - a name the new Catechism gives to the Church. They are the 
Church, and as we pass beyond the cover to the simple, lucent text within, we begin to see this 
Church with new eyes, and learn anew to love her. 

Who is the Church, in the deepest wellsprings of her being? The Dominican Cardinal would 
have us open our whole being to "the symphony of the faith," in order to "hear all the notes 
together." The Church is God's creation: conceived before all ages, formed through the history 
of Israel, established in this last age as his chosen bride, made manifest in the outpouring of the 
Holy Spirit, and destined for eternal union with him at the end of time. 

Schonborn has chosen these five elements or stages of the Church's life, delineated in Lumen 
gentium (n. 2) and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 759), as his leitmotif. We are 
borne along the vast arch rising out of the waters of chaos in Genesis and ascending through, 
over, and beyond the history of our race, to lose itself in the unfathomable mists of eternity. The 
arch is the Church. The Church is the bow in the clouds. The splendid truth is that we are not 
onlookers: we are the bow. One with the Church, we share her glorious destiny. 

Returning in thought to the primal emptiness where the Spirit brooded over the waters, we 
contemplate creation from God's point of view. His "Let it be" brings light and life and meaning 
to the void, fills it with his beauty. At the heart of the story is the Church. "The Church is as old 
as creation," Schonborn tells us. "In fact, in a certain sense she is older.... In the Shepherd of 
Hermas, the Church appears as an old woman: 'She existed before there was a world, and for 
her the world was created.'" Is this a figment of the imagination? Far from it. We read in the 
Catechism, "God created the world for the sake of communion with his divine life, a communion 
brought about by the 'convocation' of men in Christ, and this 'convocation' is the Church." To 


see the Church, therefore, as the goal of creation is to see her through God's eyes, in all the 
magnificent reality of his eternal present. 

The Church is at once goal and means. The goal of all creation, she is also the means whereby 
all creation returns to the Creator. How are we to encompass this mind-boggling concept? "A 
sense of creatureliness," Schonborn suggests, "of what it means to be a creature, is a 
prerequisite for a sense of the Church ... Creatures are not random ports-of-call in the voyage 
of evolution ... Creaturely variety is not an accident ... but an expression in many forms of the 
plenitude of the divine essence... The heart of Christian anthropology is that man is created in 
the image of God." 

Once lost in Eden, the primeval intimacy with God was to be restored by the same creative 
Word. Nearing the end of Day One of the retreat, we come upon this exhilarating challenge: 
"Believing in the Creator also means believing in the great things he expects of his creatures.... 
The creature can never know a greater self-fulfillment than letting himself be totally used by 

This, and indeed the whole book, may startle a reader immersed in the secular culture that dulls 
our days. And what will a feminist make of the passing comment, "In Mary we see, gazing 
across countless generations, the face of woman as God created her: Eve, the mother of all 
the living"? 

We are back to Eden, but it is not a re-run. We are being pointed upward along the arch, 
through the dark history of preparation, the saga of the Old Covenant, on through the formation, 
the establishment of the New Covenant, to the appearance of the chosen Bride, black but 
beautiful in the splendor of the Spirit's manifestation in this last age. We are looking at her 
destiny, our destiny as it has been conceived from eternity to eternity. 

Is all this sheer blind idealism? Can we deliberately close our eyes to what we see when we 
look at the Church, the "institutional Church" as so many think of it today, at the turn of the 
millennium? Where is truth? How escapist can we be? 

The plain truth is that the Cardinal is very down to earth and disarmingly honest. Considering 
the Samaritan woman at the well, he sees the disciples as "trapped in the stupidity of their self- 
concern. What a 'confessional mirror' this holds up for us! It challenges and tests our 
'compassion.' Is it just Anything for a quiet life,' or, Avoid complications,' or, 'We don't want a 
public outcry,' or, 'No awkward scenes, please'? Is there a thirst for the salvation of men 
burning in our hearts?" 

Seeing the little children being brought to Jesus, Schonborn wonders aloud "why the disciples 
abused and barked at the people." He muses, "How often it is we, the apostles and their 
successors, who hinder people from coming to Jesus!" The "drama of the sin of the 
shepherds," painfully familiar in the Old Testament, is acted out step by step in the New, from 
their shocking silences, their talk on the road, to the unkindest cut of all, the dispute over which 
of them was to be regarded as the greatest (Lk 22, 24). "He foretells his Passion, but they are 
talking about precedence and promotion." This, too, is the Church. This is us. Yet we believe, 
we know that the Church is also the beloved Bride, born from the side of Christ on Calvary. 

It is good to grapple with the paradox, good to look honestly at the less than comforting facts. 
It is even better to see them from God's point of view, even if it means standing on our heads 
and squinting through the eyes of faith. Acrobatics like this open doors to truth. Books like this 
lead us to the edge of loving the Church. 



TOPIC INDEX: 1980-1999 


The following is a TOPIC INDEX to articles by nuns and friars published in DMS from 1980 
to 1999. It follows upon an AUTHOR INDEX covering the years 1980-1998 which appeared in the 
1998 issue!. 

How to use this Index: 

1 . There is an issue of DMS for every year except 1981 and 1988. Two issues appeared in 
1 989, one of which contains the presentations of the 1 988 Assembly. Thus, in the Index, 89A refers 
to the issue containing these papers, while 89 designates the regular 1989 edition of DMS. 

2. The 1982 issue of DMS appeared as a supplement to the February, 1983 issue of 
Conference Communications. 

3. Each article entry is followed by its location, i.e., 94:102-108 means that the article will be 
found in the 1994 issue of DMS, on pages 102-108. 

4. Authors are entered under their present (1999) name and monastery. (Cross references 
to previous religious names and monasteries were included in the 1 998 Author Index). Articles that 
are translations are followed by the names of both the author and the translator.. 

Sr. Susan Early, OP. 
North Guildord, CT 

• •• 

• •• 

Abelard, Peter, 1079-1142 

The Proof is in the Pudding: St. Bernard of 
Clairvaux, Peter Abelard, and St. Thomas 
Aquinas 98:101-102 

- S. Emmanuel, M. (Buffalo) 


Reclaiming the Dominican Vision for the 21 st 
Century: a Challenge for Aging 
Contemplative Communities 92:20-26 

- Perkins, Ignatius, OP, Brother 

Annunciation - Meditation 

A Reflection on the Annunciation 94:77-78 

- S. Miriam (Lufkin) 

Anthony, St., 250-356 

Anthony, Monastic Friend (litany) 89A:73 

- S. Assumption, M. of (W. Spring.) 

The Inner Mountain 83:14-19 

- S. Miriam (Elmira) 

Anthropology, Christian 

Christian Anthropology and Dominican 
Monastic Life 94:18-21 

- S. Thomas Mary (N. Glfd.) 

Aquinata, Mother M., 1894-1989 

Liturgy of Christian Burial for Mother M. Aquinata 
of the Crucifixion, OP (Homily) 89:104-108 

- Confer, Bernard, OP 

Art, Contemporary 

Towards Understanding Contemporary Art 
95:67-80 - S. Grace, M. (Washington) 
Praying Before a Picture 98:34-44 

- S. Savior, M. of (Farmington H.) 


Art, Dominican 

Lectio With a Fresco [Noli Me Tangere by 
FraAngelico] 99:62-72 

- S. Marie Dominic (Farmington H.) 


The Challenge of Self-Sacrificing Love 
89:32-39 - S. Denise Marie (Summit) 


Love's Beauty, Massive Majesty and the 

Superstar 97:83-91 - S. Regina, M. (Lufkin) 
Star Dust 93:51-54 

- S. Regina, M. (Lufkin) 


Applied Research on Modern Atheism in 
Western Society 89A: 86-90 

- S. Rosario, M. (Los Angeles) 

Augustine, St., 354-430 

Freedom Through the Community s Found in 
the Monastic Tradition 89A:54-63 

- O'Donnell, Gabriel, OP 

Augustine, St., 354-430. Rule 

Rule of St. Augustine 

Augustine, St., 354-430. Writings 

Love of God and Love of Neighbor in the 
Writings of St. Augustine 97:9-1 5 

- S. Pascale-Dominique (Lourdes) 


Community Discernment in Choosing Those in 

Authority 90:33-38 - S. Jeremiah, M. (Lufkin) 
Nehemiah; a Model Leader 90:11-14 

- S. Regina, M. (Farmington H.) 

Authority - Role of 

Towards a Greater Democracy: a Look at the 
Shift in the Role of Authority Between 
Pachomius and Augustine 90:19-23 

- S. Lucy of the Divine Word, M. (Buffalo) 


Aquinas 98:101-102 

-S. M. Emmanuel (Buffalo) 

Bible - Canon 

Contemporary Issues in Scripture: Some Helpful 
Reading 97:34-51 - S. Lee (N. Glfd.) 

Bible - Hermeneutics 

Contemporary Issues in Scripture: 
Some Helpful Reading 97:34-51 
-S. Lee (N. Glfd.) 

Bible. O.T. Ezekiel 

Ezekiel and the Dominicans 93:29-34 

- S. Regina, M. (Farmington H.) 

Bible. O.T. Jonah 

Jonah and Jonah 86:110-115 

- S. Cross, M. of (Bocaue, Philippines) 

Bible.O.T. Judges 

The Yearning in Gideon's Heart 89:24-28 

- S. Vincent, M. (Farmington H.) 

Bible. O.T. Nehemiah 

Nehemiah; a Model Leader 90:11-14 

- S. Regina, M. (Farmington H.) 

Bible. O.T. Psalms - Commentary 

Jerome and His Commentary on 
Psalm 83(84) 97:80-82 

- S. Christ, M. of (Los Angeles) 

Bible. O.T. Prophecies 

Ezekiel and the Dominicans 93:29-34 

- S. Regina, M. (Farmington H.) 

Bible. N.T. John 

The Dust Artist: a Meditation on John 8:1-16 
97:53-58 - S. Regina, M. (Lufkin) 

Bible. N.T. Philemon 

Authority and Communio in Philemon 90:15-17 

- S. Thomas, M. (Buffalo) 

Bible. N.T. - Criticism and interpretation 

The Gospels 94:74-76 

-S. Rose Dominic, M. (Summit) 

Bernard of Clairvaux, St., 1090-1153 

The Proof is in the Pudding: St. Bernard of 
Clairvaux, Peter Abelard, and St. Thomas 

Bible. N.T. - Theology 

Come to the Father: A Kaleidoscope-View of 


the Father in the New Testament 99:3-27 

- S. Sacred Heart, M. of (West Springfield) 

Blanche of Prouille, fl. 13th C. 

The Venerable Mother Sister Blanche of Prouille 
(from the French of J.J. Berthier, OP) 
80:18-19 -S. Regina, M., trans. (W.Spring.) 

Brothers and Sisters of St. John 

Grandsons of St. Dominic 94:68-73 

- S. Grace, M. (Washington) 

Byrne, Damian, 1929-1996 

The Work of the Master's Hand: Letters and 
Vision of Father Damian Byrne, OP 
92:120-124 -S. Regina, M. (Farmington H.) 


Cassian, John, 360(?)-432/435 

Dominican Monastic Profession 83:132-135 

- S. Claire (N. Glfd.) 

Freedom for God in the Monastic Writings of 

John Cassian 89A:43-53 

-S. Mary Ann (N. Glfd.) 
Knowing and Enjoying God: Cassian's View of 

Monastic Progress 89:41-49 

-S. Susan H. (N. Glfd.) 

Catherine of Siena, St., 1347-1380 

Aquinas's Theology of Trinitarian Mission and 
the Dialogue of Catherine of Siena 95:60-66 

- S. Jean Marie (N. Glfd.) 
Catherine, Woman of Prayer 82:128-139 

- S. God, M. of (N. Glfd.) 

"In the Name of.. .Sweet Mary" 87:7-13 

- S. Jeremiah, M. (Lufkin) 

The Love of Truth and the Truth of Love in 
Catherine of Siena's Mysticism 89:96-1 03 

- S. Agnes, Maria (Summit) 

Peace and Restlessness in St. Catherine of 

Siena 91:25-30 - S. Regina, M. (Farm. H.) 
St. Catherine and Holy Discretion 99:73-83 

- S. Joseph M. (Farmington H.) 
Such a Woman. ..Such a Saint! 80:22-23 

- S. Francis, M. (Farmington H.) 
This Pearl of Great Price, Our Catherine 

89:90-95 - S. Cynthia Mary (Summit) 


Cenobitic Beginnings: the Pachomian 
Monastic Experience 80:10-17 

- S. Lauren Marie (N. Glfd.) 


Do You Not Know You Are a Temple of God? 

97:3-8 - S. Sacred Heart, M. of (Marbury) , 
Love of God and Love of Neighbor in the 

Writings of Saint Augustine 97:9-1 5 

- S. Pascale-Dominique (Lourdes) 

On Love of God and Love of Neighbor 85:17-20 

- S. Christ, M. of (Los Angeles) 

Communio in Dominican Life 

Communio and Missio 85:56-59 

- S. Thomas, M. (Buffalo) 

Some Reflections on the Metaphysical Basis 
of Communio According to Saint Thomas 
Aquinas 90:2-4 

- S. Precious Blood, M. of (Buffalo) 


Understanding Enclosure in Contemporary 
Society 96:101-121 - Barron, William, OP 

Community-Biblical teaching 

Community as the Image of the Trinity 

- S. Jean Marie (N.GIfd.) 
Dominican Nuns as Followers of Christ: 

Common Life and Evangelical Counsels 
86:29-46 - S. Jean Marie (N. Glfd.) 

Community - Moral and ethical aspects 

Community and Solitude 90:39-44 

- S. Susan H. (N. Glfd) 

Community Life (Religious) 

Freedom Through the Community as Found 
in the Monastic Tradition 89A: 54-63 

- O'Donnell, Gabriel, OP 

Congar, Yves, 1904-1995 

Yves Congar: Theologian and Contemplative 
94:89-92 - S. Regina, M. (Farmington H.) 


Dominican Conscience 97:17-19 
-S. Regina, M. (Farmington H.) 



Aspects of Religious Consecration 
- Ramsey, Boniface, OP 



Contemplation in Our Modern Times 83:55-58 

- S. Roseanne, M. (Bronx) 
Ezekiel and the Dominicans 93:29-34 

- S. Regina, M. (Farmington H.) 
Formed by the Word, Taught by the Spirit, 

We Dare to Study 92:100-110 

- S. Susan H. (N. Glfd.) 

Faith, Theology and Contemplation 98:97-100 

- S. Daria (N. Glfd.) 

Of Mary, Martha, Abraham, and Us 89:19-23 

- S. Regina, M. (Farmington H.) 
Prayer as Relationship: God and the Self 

83:67-86 - S. Jean Marie (N. Glfd.) 
Reading and Prayer (Th. Camelot, OP) 

- S. Regina, M. -trans. (W. Spring.) 
Theology and Contemplation in the 

Dominican Tradition 95:81-84 

- S. Vincent, M. (Farm. H.) 

Contemplative life 

Address to the Presidents of the Federation 
of Spanish Dominican Nuns (Hamer) 

- S. Ruth AnnMary, trans. (Summit) 
Be What You Are, Contemplatives 


- S. Joseph, M. (Los Angeles) 
Contemplative Life, Saint Thomas and 

Passive Entertainment 95:55-59 

- S. Augustine, M. (Los Angeles) 
Contemplative Life For Women in the Church 

Today: One Nun's Opinion 98:2-6 

- S. Savior, M. of (Farmington H.) 
Contemplative Religious Women - the American 

Situation 25 Years Later 92:144-150 

- S. Precious Blood, M. of (Buffalo) 
Father Vicaire on the Contemplative Life: 

Report of Father Vicaire's Conferences 
prepared by Sr. Myriam 
85:77-80 - S. Myriam (Belgium) 
God Who Reveals Himself 92:141-143 

- S. Sacred Heart, M. of (Menlo Park) 
Homily (untitled) 89A:3-5 

- Ashley, Benedict, OP 

In Journeying Often 98:10-14 

- S. Sacred Heart, M. of (Menlo Park) 

The Inner Mountain 83:14-19 

-S. Miriam (Elmira) 
Modern Psychology and Contemplative Life 

94:22-30 - S. Regina, M. (Lufkin) 
Our Contemplative Formation 80:43 

-Anonymous - Spanish Dominican Nun) 
Our Contemplative Quest for Truth From a 

Dominican Perspective 96:23-27 

- S. Agnes, Maria (Summit) 

Prayer as Relationship: God and the Self 
83:67-86 - S. Jean Marie (N. Glfd.) 

The Relationship of Study to Our Dominican 
Contemplative Life 80:26-30 

- S. Christi, Maria (N. Glfd.) 
The Role of Solitude in Dominican 

Contemplative Life 85:47-52 

- S. Bernard, M. (Summit) 

Study and Contemplative Prayer (Giardini) 

- S. Cross, Maria of, trans. (Summit) 
Truth and the Future of Contemplatives 

80:46-49 - Congar, Yves, OP 
Witnesses From the Desert 91:63-70 

- M. Teresa M. Ortega-author (Olmedo) 

- S. Holy Cross, M. of, trans (Buffalo) 

Contenson, Guillaume V., 1641-1674 
Theology of the Mind and Heart 

To Know and To Love 89:79-81 

- S. Cross, M. of (Bocaue, Philippines) 

Cormier, Hyacinth-Marie, 1832-1916 

Father Hyacinth-Marie Cormier, OP 

(extracts from 3 French books) 83:169-178 

- S. Regina, M., trans. (W. Spring.) 

Covenants (Theology) 

Covenant 84:134-138 
-S. Dolores, M. (N. Glfd.) 

Covenants (Theology) - Biblical teaching 

Peace and Consensus 91:9-18 

- S. Jean Marie (N. Glfd.) 

Croix Laval, Marie de la, d. 1883, 

Grateful Memories of an Enduring Presence 

- S. Jeremiah, M. (Lufkin) 

Cross - Meditation 

The Tale of the Wood 83: 1 79-1 82 

- S. Violet Ann (Syracuse) 


Culture conflict 

The Current Moral Climate in the U.S.A. 

and Its Impact on Monastic Life 96:39-43 

-S. Ruth Bernard (N. Glfd.) 
Individualism 95:42-48 

- S. Susan E. (N. Glfd.) 

Culture, contemporary 

The Impact of Modern Culture on Monasticism 

- S. Frances Clare (Bronx) 
Parting With Illusion: the Challenge of 

Monastic Formation in an Age 
of Immediacy 96:52-60 

- Corbett, John, OP 

Preparing to Converse With Modern Culture 
94:6-10 -S. Amata, M. (Washington) 

A Radiant Center of Charity - At the Heart 
of the Holy Preaching 96:122-137 

- S. Lee (N. Glfd.) 

Understanding the Contemporary Theology 
of the Human Person 96:5-9 

- S. Jeremiah, M. (Lufkin) 

Curupira Ido Tuba, 1901-1974 

Curupira's Rosary 85:70-71 

- S. Trinity, M. of-trans. (Lufkin) 
The Sanctity of Curupira 

85:68-69 - S. Sacre Coeur, Marie (Brazil?) 

Descartes, Rene, 1596-1650 

Letter to Rene Descartes 94: 1 02-1 08 

- S. Agnes, Maria (Summit) 


Community Discernment in Choosing 
Those in Authority 90:33-38 

- S. Jeremiah, M. (Lufkin) 

Discipline, Penitential 

Penitential discipline 

Divine Office 

Liturgy of the Hours 

Dominic, St., 1170-1221 

Historical Background of St. Dominic's Life 
and of the Foundation of the order; and 
Summary of Subsequent History 83:106-122 

- S. Stephen, M. (Elmira) 

Look to the Rock From Which You Were Hewn 

83:137-139 - S. Dominic Marie (Buffalo) 
The "O Lumen" in Portraiture 83:93-94 

- S. Precious Blood, M. of (Buffalo) 
Pursuing Communion in Government: Role of 

Community Chapter 92:38-50 

- O'Dwyer, Malachy, OP 

Saint Dominic (talk by Cardinal Pacelli 
in 1935) 84:168-185 

- S. Trinity, M. of, trans. ( Menlo Park) 
Saint Dominic and His Love for the 

Liturgy 83:90-92 - S. Margaret, M. (Elmira) 
St. Dominic and Dominican Origins 
andCharism 86:18-27 

- S. God, M. of (N. Glfd) 

Dominic, St., 1170-1221. Nine Ways 
of Prayer 

St. Dominic's First Way of Prayer 

82:88-90 - S. Cabrini, Maria (Lufkin) 
St. Dominic's Second Way of Prayer 

82:91-93 S. Victor Marie (Lufkin) 
St. Dominic's Third Way of Prayer 

82:94-97 - S. William, M. (Lufkin) 
The Fourth Way of St. Dominic's Prayer 

83:31-34 - S. Amata, M. (Washington) 
Fifth Way of St. Dominic's Prayer 

83:35-38 - S. Hyacinth, M. (Lufkin) 
The Sixth Way of St. Dominic's Prayer 

83:39-43 - S. Magdalen, M. (Lufkin) 
Seventh Way of St. Dominic's Prayer 

84:151-154 - S. Christina, Maria (Lufkin) 
The Eighth Way of St. Dominic's Prayer 

84:155-157 - S. Rosario, Maria (Lufkin) 
The Ninth Way of St. Dominic's Prayer 

84:158-164 - S. Jeremiah, M. (Lufkin) 

Dominican Charism 

Approaches to Our Charism 

I. Structures 80:1-6 

II. Study: a Heritage Re-gained 80:32-38 
-S. Francis, M. (Farmington H.) 

A Broad and Joyous Way 89A:6-14 

- Ashley, Benedict, OP 
The Charism of St. Dominic and of the 

Dominican Order: a Spiritual Reflection 



- S. Rose Dominic, M. (Summit) 

Chez Les Dominicaines (Reports in Le Lien) 

80:44-45 - Anonymous 

(French Dominican Nuns) 
Ezekiel and the Dominicans 93:29-34 

- S. Regina, M. (Farmington H.) 
A Parable of the Word 92:73 

-S. Lee (N.'Glfd.) 
Saint Dominic and Women: a Dialogue With 
the Modern World 98:69-80 

- S. Margaret, M. (Farmington H.) 
See What Love the Father Has! 99:28-34 

- S Sacred Heart, M. of the (Marbury) 

Dominican Government 

Dominican Government Today 
Parti: 84:82-92; Part II: 93-103 

- Doyle, Thomas OP 

Dominican Government Today in the Light of 
Our Legislative Heritage and the Church's 
General Law 84:104-116 

- Doyle, Thomas, OP 

Freedom for God - Freedom in Communion 
98:15-29 - S. Jean Marie (N.GIfd.) 

Freedom Through the Community as Found 
in the Tradition of Dominican Government 
89A:64-70 - S. Jean Marie (N. Glfd.) 

In the Beginning There Was Consensus 
93:9-12 -S. Amata, M. (Washington) 

Observance in the Dominican Tradition and 
in the Constitutions of the Nuns 89:2-1 

- S.Jean Marie (N. Glfd.) 
Reflections on the Spirit and Structure 

of Dominican Government 
86:75-81 - S. Thomas, M. (Buffalo) 

Dominican Government. Basic 
Constitution of the Order 

The Basic Constitution of the Order 
84:15-21 - O'Donnell, Gabriel, OP 

Pursuing Communion in Government - Role of 
Community Chapter 92:38-50 

- O'Dwyer, Malachy, OP 

Dominican Nuns 

Approaches to Our Charism 

I. Structures 80:1-6 

II. Study: a Heritage Re-gained 80:32-38 

- S. Francis, M. (Farmington H.) 

Chez Les Dominicaines (Reports in Le Lien) 

80:44-45 - Anonymous 

(French Dominican Nuns) 
A Distinctive Identity: Dominican 

Contemplative Nuns 83:125-128 

- S. Incarnation, Marie (Newark) 
Dominican Common Prayer-Nuns 

83:87-89 - S. God, M. of (N. Glfd.) 
Dominican Vision - Roots of Our Monastic 
Life... Integration of Its Elements 92:2-10 

- S. Magdalen, M. (Newark) 

The Gospel: Supreme Pattern of Dominican 
Monastic Life 86:5-10 

- S. Magdalen, M. (Newark) 
Historical Background of St. Dominic's Life 

and of the Foundation of the Order; 

and Summary of Subsequent History 

83:106-122 - S. Stephen, M. (Elmira) 
The Ideal of a Dominican Contemplative Nun 

84:139-147 - S. Rose Dominic. M. (Summit) 
In Journeying Often 98:10-14 

- S. Sacred Heart, M. of (Menlo Park) 
Informal Comments on the Constitutions and 

Life of the Nuns 84:5-14 

- Byrne, Damian, OP 

John the Baptist and the Dominican Nuns 
98:45-48 - S. Regina, M. (Farmington H.) 

St. Dominic and Dominican Origins and 

Charism 86:18-27 - S. God, M. of (N.GIfd.) 

Vocation of the Dominican Contemplative 
Nuns 80:7-9 

- S. Rosaria, Marie (Cainta, Philippines) 

Dominican Government. Chapter 

Freedom for God - Freedom in Communion 
98:15-29 - S. Jean Marie (N. Glfd.) 

Freedom Through the Community as Found 
in the Tradition of Dominican Government 
89A:64-70 - S. Jean Marie (N. Glfd.) 

Peace and Consensus 91 :9-1 8 
-S.Jean Marie (N.GIfd.) 

Dominican Nuns. Constitutions 

Commentary on the Constitutions of the Nuns 
of the Order of Preachers: 
Part I: (Fundamental Const.) 98:49-68 
Part II 99:85-125 

- S. Marie Ancilla, author (Lourdes) 

- S. Thomas, M., trans. (Buffalo) 
Comparative Study on Regular Observance - 

Old and New Constitutions 85:24-38 
-S.Jean Marie (N.GIfd.) 


Dominican Conscience 97:17-19 

- S. Regina, M. (Farmington H.) 
Dominican Vision for the Future: a Reflection 

92:74-80 - S. Jean Marie (N. Glfd.) 

An Expression of Our Identity 

in Our Revised Constitutions 83:129-131 

- S. Sacred Heart, M. of (Elmira) 

The Following of Christ Through Religious 
Consecration as Dominican Nuns 84:34-47 

- S. Catherine M. (Elmira) 

Freedom for God - Freedom in Communion 
98:15-29 - S. Jean Marie (N. Glfd. 

Informal Comments on the Constitutions and 
Life of the Nuns 84:5-14 

- Byrne, Damian, OP 

Radiant Center of Charity - At the Heart of 
the Holy Preaching 96: 1 22-1 37 

- S. Lee (N. Glfd.) 

The Scriptural Meaning of Freedom as 
Reflected in Our Constitutions and 
Other Related Documents 89A:23-31 
-S.Martin, M. (Summit) 

The Word of God in LCM - Logos and Rhema 
95:35-37 - S. Regina, M. (Farmington H.) 

Dominican Nuns. Fundamental 

Augustinian Themes in Our Basic 
Constitutions 85:21-23 

- S. Precious Blood, M. of (Buffalo) 
Basic Constitutions of the Nuns 

84:22-33 - S. God, M. of (N. Glfd) 
Fundamental Constitution of the Nuns of the 
Order of Preachers: a Commentary 98:49-68 

- S. Marie Ancilla, author (Lourdes) 

- S. Thomas, M., trans. (Buffalo) 

Dominican Nuns. Role in Order 

"Prayer, Study, and the Life of Withdrawal" 

92:51-72 - Barron, William, OP 
The Reality of the Lived Experience: Areas 

to Be Explored 92:11-19 

- S. Mercy, M. (Farmington H.) 
The Strong City 91:38-40 

- S. Gracemary (Buffalo) 

Dominican Nuns - United States 

Centenary for Dominican Nuns 
in the United States 80:50-51 

- S. Magdalen, M. (Newark) 
Letter to Louis M. Cardinal Caverot, 
Archbishop of Lyons (1880) 80:52 

- Corrigan, Bishop M. (Newark) 

Dominican Nuns - History 

The Dominican Nuns: Historical Highlights 
90:75-90 - Bedouelle, Guy, OP 

Dominican Nuns - History - France 

Dominican Nuns of Paris 86:96-102 

- S. Cross, M. of (Bocaue, Philippines) 

Dominican Saints 

Saints, Dominican 

Dominican Sisters. Montargis 

The First Constitutions of the Dominican 
Sisters of Montargis (1250) 87:72-86 

- Creytens, Raymond, OP 

- Pierre Conway, OP, trans. 

Dominican Spirituality 

Dominicans -Spiritual life 

Dominicans - History 

Historical Background of St. Dominic's Life 
and of the Foundation of the Order; and 
Summary of Subsequent History 
83:106-122 - S. Stephen, M. (Elmira) 

Origin of Dominican Coat of Arms 

83:136 - S. Louis Bertrand (W. Spring.) 

Pursuing Communion in Government- Role 
of Community Chapter 92:38-50 

- O'Dwyer, Malachy, OP 

St. Dominic and Dominican Origins 

andCharism 86:18-27 

-S. God, M. of (N. Glfd.) 
St. Dominic and His Love for the Liturgy 

83:90-92 - S. Margaret, M. (Elmira) 

Dominicans - Meditations 

A Fruit of Lectio at Office of Readings 
95:39-40 - S. Clara Marie (Newark) 

Dominican Vocation-ln a Word (Homily) 
98:7-9 - S. Trinity, M. of (Farmington H.) 

Dominicans - Monastic Sources 

Blessed Jordan of Saxony on 
Lectio Divina 90:61-74 

- S. Catherine, M. (Elmira) 

Dominicans - Profession 


Profession (in religious orders, 
congregations, etc.)-Dominican 

Dominicans - Spiritual Initiation & 
Ongoing Development 

Spiritual Initiation and Ongoing 
Development 86:69-74 

- S. Holy Eucharist, Maria (W. Spring.) 

Dominicans - Spiritual life 

Dominican Vocation-ln a Word (Homily) 

98:7-9 - S. Trinity, M. of (Farmington H.) 
My Eyes Are Ever Towards the Lord 

92:131-136 - S. Catharine, M. (Summit) 
Prayer and Spiritual Growth in Dominican Life 

82:83-84 - S. Dominic Marie (Buffalo) 
The Prayer of St. Dominic 

and the Early Dominicans: 

Parti: 83:20-30 

Part II: 84:119-127 

- S. Martin, M. (Summit) 
A Trilogy 85:61-66 

- S. Margaret, M. (Buffalo) 
The World as We Know It 94:2-5 

- S. Thomas, M. (Buffalo) 

Elizabeth of the Trinity, 1880-1906 

Elizabeth of the Trinity and The Interior Castle 
85:98-111 -S. Regina, M. (Farmington H.) 

In Praise of the God of Love: 
Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity 
95:28-34 - S. Dolores, M. (N. Glfd.) 

Enclosure (Monasticism) 

At the Heart of the "Holy Preaching" 

Toward a Theology of Dominican Monastic 
Enclosure: History, Principles, Praxis 
94:41-54 - S. Lee (N. Glfd.) 

In Journeying Often 98:10-14 

- S. Sacred Heart, M. of (Menlo Park) 
"Prayer, Study, and the Life of Withdrawal" 

92:51-72 - Barron, William. OP 
The Question of Enclosure Today: a Response 

94:31-40 - S. Rose Dominic, M. (Summit) 
A Radiant Center of Charity - At the Heart of 

the Holy Preaching 96: 1 22-1 37 

- S. Lee (N. Glfd.) 
Understanding Enclosure in Contemporary 

Society 96:101-121 - Barron, William, OP 
Evangelical counsels 
My Eyes Are Ever Towards the Lord 

92:131-136 - S. Catharine, M. (Summit) 

Ebner, Margaret, 1291(?)-1351 

Beatification of Margaret Ebner, OP 


-S. Clare Patrick, M. -trans. (N. Glfd.) 
Margaret Ebner (from the French: 

An nee Dominicaine) 82:142-148 

-S. Regina, M.- trans. (W. Spring.) 

Eckhart, Meister, 1260(?)-1 327/28. 
Counsels on Discernment 

The 'Naked Spirit' in Eckhart's Counsels on 
Discernment 83:44-54 
-S. Francis, M. (Farmington) 


The Effects of Modern Economics on Our 

Way of Life 96:85-91 

- S. Amata, M. (Washington) 
The Effects of Modern Economics on Our Way 

of Life 96:93-98 - Ramsey, Boniface, OP 


Star of Evangelization 93:35-37 
- S. Agnes, M. (Lufkin) 


Empty Vessels (an allegory) 84:149-150 

- S. Precious Blood, M. of (Buffalo) 

Fatherhood of God 

Come to the Father: A Kaleidoscope-View of the 
Father in the New Testament 99:3-27 

- S. Sacred Heart, M. of (West Springfield) 
See What Love the Father Has! 99:28-34 

- S. Sacred Heart, M. of (Marbury) 
When we Cry Abba, Father! 

90:46-48 - S. Margaret, M. (Buffalo) 


Culture Shock: Reflections on the Dynamics 
of Inculturation and Formation 94:1 1-17 

- S. Judith Miryam (Summit) 


Mid-Life Novitiate: My Occasion for Profound 

Human Growth 98:81-88 

- S. Marina (Summit) 
Parting With Illusion: the Challenge of 

Monastic Formation in an Age of Immediacy 

96:52-60 - Corbett, John, OP 
Our Contemplative Formation 80:43 

(Anonymous - Spanish Dominican Nun) 

- M.Teresa M. Ortega-author (Olmedo) 

- S. Holy Cross, M. of, trans. (Buffalo) 

Health care 

Reclaiming the Dominican Vision for the 21 st 
Century: a Challenge for Aging 
Contemplative Communities 92:20-26 

- Perkins, Ignatius, OP, Brother 


A Broad and Joyous Way 89A:6-14 

- Ashley, Benedict, OP 

Freedom Through Community as Found in the 
Monastic Tradition 89A:54-63 

- O'Donnell, Gabriel, OP 

Freedom (theology) 

Christian and Modern ideas of Freedom: 
Contrast and Convergence 
89A:32-41 - DiNoia, Augustine, OP 

Freedom (theology) - Biblical teaching 

The Meaning of Freedom in Scripture 
89A: 15-22 - McCreesh, Thomas, OP 

The Scriptural Meaning of Freedom as 
Reflected in Our Constitutions and Other 
Related Documents 89A: 23-31 

- S. Martin, M. (Summit) 

Friendship - Religious Aspects 

The Place of Friendship in Our Monastery 
Chapters 90:53 - S. Agnes, M. (Buffalo) 


To Become a Hesychast 82: 1 1 4-1 1 8 

- S. John, M. (N. Glfd.) 

Holy Spirit 

Listen to the Spirit 98:30-33 

- S. Joseph, M. (Marbury) 


Dominican Vocation-ln a Word 

98:7-9 S. Trinity, M. of (Farmington H.) 
Liturgy of Christian Burial for Mother M. Aquinata 

of the Crucifixion, OP 89: 1 04-1 08 

- Confer, Bernard, OP 

A Suitable Place 85:73-76 

- DiNoia, Augustine, OP 
Untitled Homily 89A:3-5 

- Ashley, Benedict, OP 

A Vespers Homily for the First Sunday of 
Advent 99:35-37 

- Savior, Sr. M. of the (Farmington H.) 

Hopkins, Gerard Man ley, 1 844-1 889 

A Short Biography of Gerard Manley 
Hopkins, Poet 86:103-109 

- S. Elizabeth, M. (Newark) 

Garibal, Marguarite de la (Mere), d.1650(?) 

Dominican Nuns of Paris 86:96-102 
- S. Cross, M. of (Bocaue, Philippines) 

Gregory, St., 540(?)-604 

Dear Friend St. Gregory (Litany) 
89A:71-72 - S. Pure Heart, M. of 
and S. Assumption, M. of (W. Spring.) 


Habit - Reception 

This Hidden Life 85:90-91 

Hospitality - Religious aspects 

At the Sign of the Pineapple - Monastic 
Aspects 95:49-54 

- S. Catharine, M. (Summit) 

Human person (Theology) 

Dear Friend, St. Gregory (Litany) 

89A:71-72 - S. Pure Heart, M. of and 

- S. Assumption, M. of (W. Spring.) 
Prayer as Relationship: God and the Self 

83:67-86 - S. Jean Marie (N. Glfd.) 
Understanding the Contemporary Theology 
of the Human Person 96: 1 0-20 

- Hilkert, M. Catherine, OP 


Understanding the Contemporary Theology 
of the Human Person 96:5-9 
- S. Jeremiah, M. (Lufkin) 


Joseph, St. 

A Never Fading Vision 

92:137-140 - S. Emmanuel, M. (W. Spring.) 
Joseph 85:81-84 

- S. Assumption, M. of (W. Spring.) 


An Introduction to the Study of Icons 

- S. Dominic, M. and Elizabeth, M. (Newark) 


Author Index (1980-1998) 98:105-113 

- Sr. Susan Early (N. Glfd) 
Topic Index (1980-1999) 99:131-146 

- Sr. Susan Early (N. Glfd) 


Individualism 95:42-48 
-S. Susan E. (N. Glfd.) 


In Journeying Often 98:10-14 

- S. Sacred Heart, M. of (Menlo Park) 

Jerome, St., 345(?)-41 9/420. Ps. 83(84) 

Jerome and His Commentary on Psalm 83(84) 
97:80-82 - S. Christ, M. of (Los Angeles) 

Jesus Christ 

A Rainbow of Reflections on the 
Holy Name of Jesus 82:98-107 

- S. Sacred Heart, M. of (W. Spring.) 
Jesus Is Lord: A Jubilee Reflection 99:58-61 

- S. Rose Dominic, M. (Summit) 

John the Baptist, St. 

John the Baptist and the Dominican Nuns 
98:45-48 - S. Regina, M. (Farmington H.) 

Johnson, Elizabeth 

Understanding the Contemporary Theology 
of the Human Person 96: 1 0-20 

- Hilkert, M. Catherine, OP 

Jordan of Saxony, 1185(?)-1237 

Blessed Jordan of Saxony on Lectio Divina 
90:61-74 - S. Catherine, M. (Elmira) 

Leclercq, Jean, 1911-1992. The Love of 
Learning and the Desire for God 

Contemporary Issues in Scripture: Some 
Helpful Reading 97:34-51 

- S. Lee (N. Glfd.) 

Lectio Divina 

Blessed Jordan of Saxony on Lectio Divina 
90:61-74 - S. Catherine, M. (Elmira) 

Dominican Study and the Experience of God 
84:53-67 -Walsh, Liam, OP 

Florilegia on Saint Augustine's Letter 21 1 

- S. Agnes, Maria [S. Rose, M.] (Summit) 
How 'Lectio' in the "Monastic Way" 

is Still Relevant Today 80:39-40 

- S. Francis, M. (Farmington H.) 
Lectio Divina 89:16-18 

- S. Martin, M. (Trinidad) 
Value and Practice of Lectio Divina 

84:68-81 - S. Magdalen, M. (Newark) 

Leloup, Words From Mount Athos 

Monasticism, Eastern 

Lindbeck, George, 1923- 

Schpture, Theology and the Nature of Doctrine 
in Aquinas and in the Thought of Postliberal 
Theologian George Lindbeck 94:93-101 

- S. Jean Marie (N. Glfd.) 


The Eternal Now of the Liturgy 

85:85-89 - S. William, M. (Lufkin) 

St. Dominic and His Love for the Liturgy 
83:90-92 - S. Margaret, M. (Elmira) 

Liturgy of the Hours 

God Who Reveals Himself 92:141-143 

- S. Sacred Heart, M. of (Menlo) 



Lonergan, Bernard, 1904-1984 

The Basis of Lonergan's Theological Method 

- S. Precious Blood, M. of (Buffalo) 

In Love With the Universe: a Brief Introduction 
to the Work of Bernard Lonergan 97:59-78 

- S. Savior, M. of (Farmington) 
Understanding the Contemporary Theology 

of the Human Person 96: 1 0-20 

- Hilkert, M. Catherine, OP 

Love of God 


Love of neighbor 

Love of God and Love of Neighbor in the 
Writings of St. Augustine 97:9-1 5 

- S. Pascale-Dominique (Lourdes) 
On Love of God and Love of Neighbor 

85:17-20 -S. Christ, M. of (Los Angeles) 


Manual work (See also: Work) 

Manual Labor - a Monastic Observance for 
Dominican Nuns 91:51-62 

- S. Rosaria, Marie (Cainta, Philippines) 

Mary, Blessed Virgin 

Forma Dei 89:82-89 

- S. Gracemary (Buffalo) 
Homemaker 83:162 

- S. Amata, M. (Buffalo) 
"In the Name of... Sweet Mary" 

87:7-13 -S. Jeremiah, M. (Lufkin) 
Mary and the Virtue of Trust 84:190-192 

-S. Regina, M. (Farmington H.) 
Mary in the Incarnation and the Signs of the 

Times 87:15-21 - S. Virginia Mary (Summit) 
Pilgrim Virgin, Pilgrim Church 87:2-6 

- S. Regina, M. (Farmington H.) 
Sign of Hope 87:22-24 

- S. Giuseppina, M. (Italy) 

Mary, Blessed Virgin - Short story 

Until Jesus Be Formed in You: 
a Marian Short Story 98:91-96 
-S. Sacred Heart, M. of (Marbury) 

Mary Magdalen, St. 

Sainte Baume and Devotion to St. Mary 

Magdalen in the Dominican Order 83:159-161 

- S. John, M. (Farmington H.) 

Monastic Observance 

Dominican Roots in the Monastic Tradition 
86:11-17 - S. Magdalen, M. (Farm. H.) 

Manual Labor - A monastic Observance 
for Dominican Nuns 91:51-62 

- S. Rosaria, Marie (Cainta, Philippines) 
Regular Chapter as a Workshop for Unity and 

Charity 90:25-32 

- S. Agnes, Maria (Summit) 
The Role of Solitude in Dominican 

Contemplative Life 85:47-52 

- S. Bernard, M. (Summit) 
Silence: a Monastic Tradition for Today 

83:143-150 -Anonymous (Summit) 
Toward a Monastic Spirituality of Work 


-S. Agnes, Maria [S.Rose, M.] (Summit) 
The Workaholic Syndrome and Original Sin 

92:86-99 - S. Agnes, M. (Summit) 


At the Sign of the Pineapple: Monastic 
Hospitality 95:49-54 

- S. Catharine, M. (Summit) 
Cenobitic Beginnings: the Pachomian 

Monastic Experience 80:10-17 
-S. Lauren Marie (N. Glfd.) 
Christian Anthropology and Dominican 
Monastic Life 94:18-21 

- S. Thomas Mary (N. Glfd.) 
Consecrated to God 89:11-14 

- S. Emmanuel, M. (W. Spring.) 
Contemporary Issues in Scripture: Some 

Helpful Reading 97:34-51 - S. Lee (N. Glfd.) 
Dominican Roots in the Monastic 
Tradition 86:11-17 

- S. Magdalen, M. (Farmington H.) 
Enclosure 89:66-67 

- S. Emmanuel, M. (W. Spring.) 
The Fear of the Lord is Our Cross - 

Ancient Homily for Monastic Profession: 
an Interpretation 85:92-97 

- S. Catherine, M. (Elmira) 

Freedom Through the Community as Found 
in the Monastic Tradition 89A:54-63 

- O'Donnell, Gabriel, OP 


Lectio and Eruditio in the Rule of San Sisto 
90:57-60 - S. Martin, M. (Summit) 

Our Contemplative Quest For Truth From 
a Dominican Perspective 96:23-27 

- S. Agnes, Maria (Summit) 
Our Monastic Life 89A: 74-75 

- S. Therese Claire ( Bambui, Cameroon) 
The Philosophical Spectrum of the 20th Century 

in the Light of the Monastic Paradigm 

95:2-15 - S. Agnes, Maria (Summit) 

The Rule of Augustine for Today 87:27-36 

- S. Agnes, Maria (Summit) 

The Scriptural Meaning of Freedom as 

Reflected in Our Constitutions and Other 

Related Documents 89A:23-31 

-S. Martin, M. (Summit) 
Work - Its Meaning and Value for 

Contemporary Dominican Monastic Life 


- S. Magdalen, M. (Farmington H.) 

Monasticism, Eastern 

Words from Mount Athos (Leloup) 
1:93:15-23; 11:94:79-85; 111:95:85-92 

- S. Cross, Maria of- trans. (Summit) 

Pachomius, St., 290(?)-346 

Cenobitic Beginnings: the 

Pachomian Monastic Experience 
80:10-17 -S. Lauren Marie (N. Glfd.) 

Paulinus of Nola, St., 353(?)-431 

Communio in the Monastic Life of 
Paulinus of Nola 90:49-52 

- S. Immaculate Conception, M. of (W. Spr.) 


Called to Peace 91:22-24 

- S. Marian Dominic (Lancaster) 
Peace and Restlessness in St. Catherine 

of Siena 91:25-30 

- S. Regina, M. (Farmington H.) 

Peace - Biblical teaching 

Peace 91:2-3 

- S. Joseph, M. (Newark) 
Peace and Consensus 91 :9-18 

- S. Jean Marie (N. Glfd.) 

Monastic Peace in Selected Scriptural Texts 
91:5-7 - S. Amata, M. (Washington) 


Contemporary Views on Morality and Its 
Effects on Society and the 
Contemplative Nun 96:45-51 

- Demkovitch, Michael, OP 


The Love of Truth and the Truth of Love in 
Catherine of Siena's Mysticism 89:96-103 

- S. Agnes, Maria (Summit) 

Mysticism, German-14th cent. 

The 'Naked Spirit' in Eckhart's Counsels on 
Discernment 83:44-54 

- S. Francis, M. (Farmington H.) 



Peace - Moral and religious 

Journey to Intimacy 92:125-130 

- S. Sacred Heart, M. of (W. Spring.) 
Monastic Peace 91:19-21 

- S. Assumption, M. of (W. Spring.) 
PaxChristi 91:32-34 

-S. Catherine, M. (Lancaster) 


Lead Me in Thy Truth 89:29-31 

- S. Jesus Crucified, M. (Buffalo) 
Works of Penance 86:47-50 

- S. Sacred Heart, M. of (Elmira) 

Penitential Discipline 

Works of Penance 86:47-50 

- S. Sacred Heart, M. of (Elmira) 

Perfection, Christian 

Knowing and Enjoying God: Cassian's View 
of Monastic Progress 
89:41-49 - S. Susan H. (N. Glfd.) 


Philippe, Marie-Dominique, OP, 1912- 

Grandsons of St. Dominic 94:68-73 

- S. Grace, M. (Washington) 


A Letter to Rene Descartes 94: 1 02-1 08 

- S. Agnes, Maria (Summit) 

Our Contemplative Quest for Truth From a 
Dominican Perspective 96:23-27 

- S. Agnes, Maria (Summit) 
Philosophical Influences Shaping Life Today 


- Demkovitch, Michael, OP 

The Philosophical Spectrum in the Light of the 
Monastic Paradigm 95:2-15 

- S. Agnes, Maria (Summit) 
Philosophy: Its Influence on Our Culture 

and on Our Contemplative Life 95:16-21 

- S. Rose Dominic, M. (Summit) 

Of Mary, Martha, Abraham and Us 

89:19-23 - S. Regina, M. (Farmington H.) 

Prayer as Relationship: God and the Self, 
a Developmental Study 
-Anonymous 83:67-86 

Praying Before a Picture 98:34-44 

- S. Savior, M. of (Farmington H.) 
Reading and Prayer (Th. Camelot, OP) 


-S. Regina, M., trans. (W. Springfield) 
Refectory Reading and Prayer 

82:140-141 - S. Thomas, M. (Buffalo) 
Study as a Basis for Prayer 82: 1 08-1 09 

- S. Augustine, M. (Syracuse) 

Prayer - Biblical teaching 

Foundations of Prayer in the Old 
Testament 82:121-127 

- S. Christ, M. of (Los Angeles) 


Poetry: Speech Framed for Contemplation 
87:38-54 - S. Elizabeth, M. (Newark) 

Prayer, intercessory 

The Prayer of Intercession 83:61-66 
- S. Incarnation, Marie of the (Newark) 


The Effects of Modern Economics on 
Our Way of Life 96:85-91 

- S. Amata, M. (Washington) 
Toward a Spirituality of Poverty 

89:70-78 - S. Margaret, M. (Farmington H.) 


A Brief Reflection on the "Adoro Te Devote" 

- S. Resurrection, M. Rose of (Summit) 
The Content of Anxiety and the Dark Side 

of Prayer 84:129-133 

- S. Francis, M. (Farmington H.) 

Do You Not Know That You Are a Temple 
of God? 97:3-8 

- S. Sacred Heart, M. of (Marbury) 
Go into My Vineyard: a Homily 97:31-33 

- S. Vincent, M. (Farmington H.) 
God Who Reveals Himself 92:141-143 

- S. Sacred Heart, M. of (Menlo) 
Jesus, Model and Teacher of Prayer 

in the Gospels 83:11-13 

- S. Immaculate Conception, M. of (W. Spr.) 
Lectio With a Fresco [Noli Me Tangere - 

Fra Angelico] 99:62-72 

- S. Marie Dominic (Farmington H.) 

Prayer, mystic 


Profession (in religious orders, 
congregations, etc.) - Dominican 

Dominican Monastic Profession 
83:132-135 -S.Claire (N. Glfd.) 

Providence - Biblical teaching 

God's Authorship of Creation: His Providence 
Over Creation and Over Man 93:39-49 

- S. Rose Dominic, M. (Summit) 


The Contributions of Modern Psychology 
and Their Interface With the 
Spiritual Dimension 96:67-82 

- Moore, Hallie, MD 

Modern Psychology and Contemplative Life 

94:22-30 - S. Regina, M. (Lufkin) 
Preambles to Government 

86:83-95 -S. Francis, M. (Farmington H.) 
The Pros and Cons of Psychology in Our 

Dominican Contemplative Life 

96:63-66 - S. Vincent, M. (Farmington H.) 


Rahner, Karl, 1904-1984 

Understanding the Contemporary 

Theology of the Human Person 96:10-20 

- Hilkert, M. Catherine, OP 

Raphael, Sr. M., d.1988 (Buffalo) 

A Tribute to Sr. M. Raphael 

93:58-61 - S. Elizabeth, M. (Buffalo) 

Raymond of Penafort. Constitutions 

The First Constitutions of the Dominican 
Sisters of Montargis (1250) 87:72-86 

- Creytens, Raymond, OP 

- Pierre Conway, OP, trans. 

Retreats, Directed 

Reflections on a Directed Retreat 
82:85 - S. Margaret, M. (Elmira) 

Retreats for Nuns 

Retreat Experiences 82: 1 1 01 1 3 

- S. Sacred Heart, M. of (Menlo Park) 


Curupira's Rosary 85:70-71 
-S. Trinity, M. of, trans. (Lufkin) 

Imago's Journey (a one-act play) 

95:96-104 - S. Thomas, M. (Buffalo) 

The Prayer of the Rosary 82: 1 1 9-1 20 

- S. Michael Marie (Lancaster) 

Rule of St. Augustine 

Dominican Conscience 97:17-19 

- S. Regina, M. (Farmington H.) 
Florilegia on Saint Augustine's Letter 21 1 


-S. Agnes, Maria [S.Rose, M.] (Summit) 
On Love of God and Love of Neighbor 

85:17-20 - S. Christ, M. of (Los Angeles) 
Rule of St. Augustine: a Response 

to the Culture of Narcissism 

97:20-27 - S. Susan E. (N. Glfd.) 
The Rule of St. Augustine for Today 
87:27-36 -S. Agnes, Maria (Summit) 

Rule of San Sisto 

Lectio and Eruditio in the Rule of San Sisto 
90:57-60 - S. Martin, M. (Summit) 

Saint Dominic's Monastery - 
Washington, D.C. 

A Suitable Place (Homily) 85:73-76 

- DiNoia, Augustine, OP 

Saints, Dominican 

Love's Beauty, Massive Majesty and 
the Superstar 97:83-91 

- S. Regina, M. (Lufkin) 
Saint Dominic (talk by Cardinal 

Pacelli in 1935) 84:168-185 

- S. Trinity, M. of, trans. (Menlo Park) 
Star Dust 93:51-54 

- S. Regina, M. (Lufkin) 

Schillebeeckx, Edward, 1914- 

Understanding the Contemporary Theology 
of the Human Person 96: 1 0-20 

- Hilkert, M. Catherine, OP 


Monastic Silence - a Mosaic 

93:2-7 - S. Agnes, M. (Buffalo) 

Silence: a Monastic Tradition for Today 
83:143-150 -Anonymous (Summit) 

Silence and Community 89:54-57 

- S. Thomas, M. (Buffalo) 
Silence in the Monastic Tradition 

89:51-53 - S. Joanne (N. Glfd.) 
Vacate et Videte 89:58-64 

- S. Margaret, M. (Buffalo) 

Solitude-Religious aspects 

Community and Solitude 

90:39-44 - S. Susan H. (N. Glfd.) 
Do You Not Know That You Are a Temple 

of God? 97:3-8 

- S. Sacred Heart, M. of (Marbury) 
The Role of Solitude in Dominican 

Contemplative Life 85:47-52 

- S. Bernard, M. (Summit) 

Spiritual life (works on the 
supernatural or inner life) 

Mid-Life Novitiate: My Occasion for Profound 
Human Growth 98:81-88 

- S. Marina (Summit) 

St. Catherine and Holy Discretion 99:73-83 

- S. Joseph M. (Farmington H.) 


Until Jesus Be Formed in You: 
a Marian Short Story 98:91-96 

- S. Sacred Heart, M. of (Marbury) 

Spiritual reading 

Reading and Prayer (Th. Camelot, OP) 
-S. Regina, M., trans. (W. Springfield) 

Spirituality (works dealing with 
spiritual values as opposed to 
materialism, for example) 

The Inner Mountain 83:14-19 

- S. Miriam (Elmira) 


Approaches to Our Charism 

II. Study: a Heritage Re-gained 80:32-38 

- S. Francis, M. (Farmington H.) 
Dominican Study and the Experience of God 

84:53-67 -Walsh, Liam, OP 
Faith, Theology and Contemplation 

98:97-100 S. Daria (N. Glfd.) 
Formed by the Word, Taught by the Spirit, 

We Dare to Study 92:100-110 

-S. Susan H. (N. Glfd.) 
Is Theological Study Important 

for Dominican Contemplatives? 95:23-27 

- S. Theresa, M. (Buffalo) 

"Prayer, Study, and the Life of Withdrawal" 
92:51-72 - Barron, William, OP 

The Relationship of Study to Our 

Dominican Contemplative Life 80:26-30 

- S. Christi, Maria (N. Glfd.) 

Some Spiritual Aspects of Study 91 :47-49 

- S. Rose Dominic, M. (Summit) 

Study and Contemplative Prayer (F. Giardini) 

- S. Cross, Maria of, trans. (Summit) 
Study as a Basis for Prayer 82: 1 08-1 09 

- S. Augustine, M. (Syracuse) 

Study in the Dominican Tradition 85:39-46 

- S. Jesus, M. of (Bronx) 

Study in the life of the Dominican Nun 
94:63-67 - S. Jesus, M. of (Bronx) 

Study in Our Dominican Monastic Life 
80:41-42 - S. God, M. of (N. Glfd.) 

Theological Study in Dominican 
Contemplative Life 94:55-62 
-S. Margaret, M. (Farmington H.) 

Theological Study in the Life of Dominican 
Contemplative Nuns 92: 1 1 1 -1 1 9 

- S. Trinity, M. of (Farmington H.) 
Theology and Contemplation in the 

Dominican Tradition 95:81-84 

- S. Vincent, M. (Farmington H.) 
The Top Priority 93:25-26 

- S. Jesus Crucified, M. of (Buffalo) 


Parting With Illusion: the Challenge of 

Monastic Formation in an Age of Immediacy 
96:52-60 - Corbett, John, OP 

Teresa M. Ortego/a of Olmedo, 191 7-? 

First Glimpse of M. Maria Teresa 

- S. Holy Cross, M. of, trans. (Buffalo) 
Mother Teresa Maria Ortego of Olmedo, 

Chapter Two 89A:76-85 

- S. Holy Cross, M. of, trans. (Buffalo) 

Teresa of Avila. The Interior Castle 

Elizabeth of the Trinity and The Interior Castle 
85:98-1 11 - S. Regina, M. (Farmington H.) 


Yves Congar: Theologian and Contemplative 
94:89-92 - S. Regina, M. (Farmington H.) 


Theology and Contemplation in the 
Dominican Tradition 95:81-84 

- S. Vincent, M. (Farmington H.) 

Theology and Science 

Time and the Timeless Doctor 99:38-43 

- S. Regina, M. (Lufkin) 

Theology - Modern 

Understanding the Contemporary Theology 
of the Human Person 96:10-20 

- Hilkert, M. Catherine, OP 

Thomas Aquinas, St., 1225(?)-1274 

Aquinas's Theology of Trinitarian Mission 
and the Dialogue of Catharine of Siena 
95:60-66 - S. Jean Marie (N. Glfd.) 


Contemplative Life, Saint Thomas and 
Passive Entertainment 95:55-59 

- S. Augustine, M. (Los Angeles) 
Scripture, Theology and the Nature of Doctrine 

in Aquinas and in the Thought of the 
Postliberal Theologian George Lindbeck 
94:93-101 - S. Jean Marie (N. Glfd.) 


Scripture, Theology and the Nature of Doctrine 
in Aquinas and in the Thought of the 
Postliberal Theologian George Lindbeck 
-S. Jean Marie (N. Glfd.) 

The State of Thomism Today 98: 1 03-1 04 

- S. Catharine, M. (Summit) 
Thomism Today 95:93-95 

- S. Margaret, M. (Newark) 


Aquinas's Theology of Trinitarian Mission 
and the Dialogue of Catharine of Siena 
95:60-66 -S. Jean Marie (N. Glfd.) 

Community as the Image of the Trinity 
90:5-10 - S. Jean Marie (N. Glfd.) 

An Exploration of Fr. George Tavard's 
Trina Deltas 99:48-57 

- S. Savior, M. of the (Farmington H.) 

Trust in God 

Do Not Be Afraid: Facing the Millennium 
with Trust 99:44-47 

- S. Eucharist, M. of the (W. Springfield) 


Truth 85:53-55 

- S. Joseph, M. (Los Angeles) 

Vows (see also Evangelical Counsels) 

Commentary on the Constitutions of the Nuns 
of the Order of Preachers: Part II 99:85-125 

- S. Marie Ancilla, author (Lourdes) 

- S. Thomas, M., trans. (Buffalo) 



Preambles to Government 

86:83-95 - S. Francis, M. (Farmington H.) 


St. Dominic and Women: a Dialogue With the 
Modern World 98:69-80 

- S. Margaret, M. (Farmington H.) 

Work - Moral and ethical aspects 

The Workaholic Syndrome and Original Sin 
92:86-99 - S. Agnes, Maria (Summit) 

Work - Religious aspects (See also: Manual 

Toward a Monastic Spirituality of Work 

- S. Agnes, Maria [S. Agnes, M.] (Summit) 
Work and the Inroads of Activism 

92:81-85 - S. Amata, M. (Washington) 
Work - Its Meaning and Value for 

Contemporary Dominican Monastic Life 

92:27-37 - S. Magdalen, M. (Farmington H.) 
Work and the Dominican Monastic Tradition 

86:51-58 - S. Christ, M. of (Los Angeles) 

Virtues, theological (See individually: Faith, 
Hope, Charity, Love) 


Dominican Monastic Profession 
83:132-135 S. Claire (N. Glfd.) 



Member Monasteries 1999 

1230 Lafayette Ave 
Bronx, NY 10474-5399 


335 Doat St. 

Buffalo, NY 14211-2199 



1500 Haddon Avenue 
Camden, NJ 08103-3112 

1310 W. Church St. 
Elmira, NY 14905-1998 

29575 Middlebelt Rd 
Farmington Hills, Ml 48334-2311 

1834 Lititz Pike 
Lancaster, PA 17601-6585 


1 977 Carmen Ave 

Los Angeles, CA 90068-4098 



1501 Lotus Lane 
Lufkin, TX 75904-2699 


P.O. Box 170 

Marbury, AL 36051-0170 



215 Oak Grove Ave 

Menlo Park, CA 94025-3249 



375 13th Ave 

Newark, NJ 07103-2124 



11 Race Hill Rd 

North Guilford, CT 06437-1167 


543 Springfield Ave 
Summit, NJ 07901-4498 


802 Court St 

Syracuse, NY 13208-1796 



605 14th St 

Union City, NY 07087-3199 


4901 16th St., N.W. 
Washington, DC 20011-3839 


1430 Riverdale St 

West Springfield, MA 01089-4698 


Affiliate Member Monasteries 

1140 Rue Frontenac, C.P. 479 
Berthierville, Quebec JOK 1AO 

No. 2 St. Ann's Rd 
Port of Spain, Trinidad, 
West Indies 

327 MacArthur Hwy 
Bocaue, Bulacan 3018 


Rosaryhill, Bulao 

Cainta, Rizal 1900 





We encourage all who can do so to write for Dominican Monastic Search. The 
deadline for manuscripts is August 1 st of each year. Appropriate subjects for DMS include 
scripture, theology, philosophy, spirituality, Dominican life, and the liberal arts insofar as 
they contribute to our Dominican vocation. 

Before submission to the editors, all articles must be reviewed by your local contact 
person . She is asked to see that articles are proofread for spelling, grammar, punctuation, 
etc., and if the author cannot do so, to type them according to the guidelines if possible. 
Nevertheless, an article may be sent in clear handwriting if necessary! The editors will 
gladly format it for you. 

Manuscripts submitted in typewriting or computer printout should be clear, single 
spaced, and on one side of the paper only. Please follow as many as possible of the 
computer guidelines given below, even if you are using a typewriter. Minor editing may be 
done at the discretion of the editors. If major changes are desired, these will be effected 
in dialogue with the author. The editors, in consultation with the Conference Council, 
reserve the right to reject inappropriate manuscripts, giving the reasons for this to the 
author with courtesy and encouragement. 


Since DMS employs a uniform style, for those of you having computer skills we 
welcome the submission of your manuscript on a disk, always accompanied by a printout , 
which can greatly aid the editorial work. Please follow this format: 

PROGRAM: WordPerfect 6.0 or 8.0 is preferred. But Word Perfect 5.1 for DOS or 
WINDOWS may still be used. You may also use MicrosoftWord, but only up to level 97. 
Do not send disks in MicrosoftWORKS. 

MARGINS, etc: 1" top and bottom. 1.12" on left and right sides . Full justification. Turn 
Widow/Orphan protect ON. No page numbers; pencil the number on back of page. 

TYPESTYLE: In WordPerfect, use the ARIAL font. If you do not have this, choose another 
plain font, to match what you see in DMS. Use either an 1 1 or 12 pt. size for body copy. 
9 or 10 pt. size is suitable for notes. 

TITLE: Position the title against the left margin, 13 PT, BOLD. Put author's name below, 
in print size of body-copy, using the FLUSH RIGHT format to secure it to that margin. Add 
your monastery's location beneath author's name. 

SPACING: For TITLE, make pleasing to the eye. Triple space between author's monas 
tery and beginning of article. Single space the body copy. Double-space between para- 
graphs. Triple-space before major headings. 

NOTES: Use endnotes . Follow current academic form. L&R margins of 1.12" as above. 
Often these margins and the ARIAL font must be entered into the programs existing 
"Document Style" default, in order to affect the endnotes. 


Printed by 

Dominican Nuns 

Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary 

543 Springfield Avenue 

Summit, NJ 0790 1 -4498 

ISSN I527-263X